#Shame - Fantasy Eastern Feb 10-17th 2018 - Our second SWDAS

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Trip Reports' started by Cheerio, Feb 22, 2018.

  1. Cheerio

    Cheerio DIS Veteran

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    Welcome to our trip report!

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    Who we are:

    Mom – Leanne
    Dad – Gary
    Kiddos – Kevin (18), Ryan (16), Dylan (12.5) and Lauren (11)
    We were with our neighbors J & M and their two boys L (13) & G (12)
    This will be our 4th cruise with Disney, so excited to be on board again! We had new and old friends awaiting us on board :sail:

    Pre-Trip

    We put down a placeholder on our last cruise in February 2016 (you can read that report here - https://www.disboards.com/threads/fantasy-western-feb-6-13-2016-feat-swdas-complete-12-31.3484719/) Check out my signature for the other links. We booked this cruise on opening day in October 2016, the benefit was 13 months to pay in full, the downfall was a huge countdown! We were looking forward to visiting St.Thomas and Castaway Cay again, it would be our first visit to Tortola - except due to the hurricane, our itinerary was changed to St.Maarten - which we didn't love last time we went there in 2014. I began researching things to do there, since we didn't want another beach day with vendors bugging us.

    This would be our last family cruise for a while as our two older boys head off to post-secondary this coming fall and next year. We decided to drive down from Toronto again and because we were driving we were going to spend a week pre-cruise travelling down to and around Orlando. The trip was much needed, just before Christmas DH was in a terrible car accident which resulted in us needing to buy a brand new vehicle. We splurged on a large SUV and I was excited to have more space (more shopping for Mama...) for luggage ;) The days before the cruise we spent packing, sorting out animals and cleaning - vacay couldn't come fast enough.

    February 4th - 9th 2018 - Travel Days

    I won't bore you with all the details of our week but we drove in quite a bit of snow near Erie, PA which slowed us down, spent nights in Charlotte NC and Daytona Beach FL on the way down, three nights in Orlando, including a visit to Olive Garden and Disney Springs (no rain this year!) We spent our days by the pool, sprinkled with a bit of shopping and FE gift prep, took the kids to Cheesecake Factory, a Japanese Teppanyaki restaurant and tried out Steak and Shake. We had beautiful weather and we're so thankful for the down time we had as a family. :love:
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    Our final night pre-cruise was at the Comfort Inn in Cocoa Beach. Like always, we let the kids have a quick swim, had an early dinner and then went down to the beach to watch the Dream sail out, super exciting to see it leave and make way for our ship. I did some laundry so we were getting on the ship with all clean clothes and then hung out in the hot tub making new friends. We packed up our bags and made sure we were ready to go in the morning.


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    Up next, that backfired, I have an angry crew. Why I'll never tell them to eat less breakfast again... :sad2:

    Quick Links
    Embarkation Day - https://www.disboards.com/threads/s...-2018-our-second-swdas.3666266/#post-58858520
    First Day At Sea - https://www.disboards.com/threads/s...-2018-our-second-swdas.3666266/#post-58879872
    Second Day At Sea - https://www.disboards.com/threads/s...-2018-our-second-swdas.3666266/#post-58889939
    St.Maarten - Catamaran Excursion https://www.disboards.com/threads/s...-2018-our-second-swdas.3666266/#post-59155382
    St.Thomas - https://www.disboards.com/threads/s...our-second-swdas.3666266/page-2#post-59897563
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2018
  2. heart

    heart Mouseketeer

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    Looking forward to reading more!
     
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  4. st0nehedge

    st0nehedge Mouseketeer

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    Reading along!

    Is post secondary equivalent to high school? (Grades 9-12?)
     
  5. Cheerio

    Cheerio DIS Veteran

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    Hi Heart and st0nehedge, post secondary is after high school - college and university :)
     
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  6. st0nehedge

    st0nehedge Mouseketeer

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    Thank you!! I won't forget now, since I asked. :thanks:
     
  7. Cheerio

    Cheerio DIS Veteran

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    February 10th - Embarkation Day!!

    I was wide awake before anyone else, did a quick peek outside to make sure there was sun, laid in bed surfing online making sure the Fantasy was in port. :rainbow: I had a quick shower and then woke everyone up for breakfast. We met our neighbours and then went for breakfast which was included in our hotel fee. I told the kids to eat light, since it was now 8:30am and we'd be on board soon for lunch - or so I thought. We hung out for a bit since it was too early to head to the port. Our PAT was 10:30am, but I knew we wouldn't be onboard that early, so we packed up the truck about 10:45am, checked out of the hotel and then headed for the mouse! :mickeyjum

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    We had just turned off the A1A when we hit a bunch of traffic. It was very slow going until we pulled into the port area, but smooth sailing after that. No line to drop off luggage and no one ahead of us to pay for parking. Like last time, we parked on the 3rd floor and walked across to the security area, it took a good 20 minutes to get through security but once we passed that it wasn't long before we were standing in front of a check in desk. I was surprised that they hadn't started boarding yet, as it was now almost noon - the CM mentioned they were boarding late today as the coast guard was still on board running some drills. Our boarding number was #2 and our room would be ready at 2pm, our dining rotation was RAERAAE and since our old server wasn't on board anymore, we requested a friend of his - hoping we got him!

    We found a spot to sit on the floor out of the way and dropped our carry-ons. It was at this point my guys started asking for a snack, or a drink (what are we, toddlers?) I started to regret telling them to eat light at breakfast, as I was starting to get hungry myself. I also left the pop and water in the truck for the drive home - oops. :rolleyes1 I could tell they were slowly starting to revolt against me, so I was hoping they'd start calling out numbers soon. At 12:20 they announced that there was still a delay, people around us seemed to get even more annoyed.:mad: :snail:Just before 1pm, they announced that we'd begin boarding shortly, by 1:30pm we were on the ship and up at Cabanas eating, so the process moved quickly. :tongue: Something about your name being called and walking on to the ship - amazing! There were also rumors that there was issues with the KTTW cards not scanning right, so they needed to do a hard reset of the system before we could board. Loved the new hand washing stations, but watched many people skip by it this week. By the time we finished eating, getting ice cream and the kids going down the aqua duck a few times, we headed down to our stateroom to unpack for the week. :laundy: Our facebook group was doing a meet and greet at 2:30pm, but based on the fact that most people weren't on-board yet we pushed it to 3pm hoping more people would be able to make it. What we didn't know, was kids are only allowed up in Satellite Falls between 4 and 6pm, one hour before and after sail away, so they sent kids away (we asked DCL for a private space but they don't do that anymore) based on the fact that most people were just getting on the ship, our event was a bust but it was great meeting those who did come out. A tip, download the DCL cruise app before you get on board, once on the ships wifi, you can use it to see the navigator, menus and even chat with other cruisers. You can even favourite items on the navigator and it will remind you of it 15 minutes before the event starts. Next cruise I will bring paper for people to come by my room and enter their chat numbers, as you can't search by cabin - it was so helpful to be able to chat with other cruisers.

    Hubby and I grabbed our first drinks of the cruise, frozen dole whips with rum - so good!! :drinking1We downed our drinks and then grabbed the kids to go to the muster drill which was in the Buena Vista theatre (so nice to be inside) after that we went up to the Edge club to get the two youngest signed up and then headed up to deck 12 to watch the sailaway party. The horns blowing get me every time :lovestruc Dinner tonight was in Royal Court and we had a table for 10 with our neighbours, I was excited to meet Sayo from Turkey who would be our server (we got the one we wanted!) and Cindy our assistant. I won't show pics of all our dinners, but rest assured for the week the two teens mostly had seafood, while DH, youngest DS and I had some form of beef and potatoes - on a few occasions chicken or pork. DD always had meals off the kids menu but adult sized desserts. We didn't have any meals that we didn't love, oldest DS had a little too much to drink in St Maarten so he didn't enjoy his meal, but we'll get to that when we're on the island! pirate:

    Sailaway
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    After dinner, the two youngest ran off to Edge for the night, we took the teens to vibe, my oldest who is newly 18 wasn't allowed in vibe except for open house times, I really think this should be reviewed on a case by case basis and I will tell you why in a bit. We found the meet up times for his 18-20 group and made sure he knew when to meet up with them. We went up to Meridian for a bit, just outside the bar is where people on the ship can smoke - we always spend a good amount of time up there as DH vapes. So often he was sneaking off up there and I'd have to go round him up. After that DH and I got our bathing suits on and sat in the hot tub for a while. I think there was only two other couples up in that whole area so it was very quiet. We sat and relaxed on one of those super cool round loungers and before we started to doze off we got up and got dressed. After watching Match Your Mate in the Tube, a quick stop in LaPiazza to grab some late night bites and took them up to Meridian. Once done there, we rounded up the two youngest and ordered them cookies and milk before sending them to bed. Embarkation day is a busy one, and we have no time for them to be cranky - sleep time it was. Most nights, we were sleeping before my 2nd oldest would roll in from Vibe, the younger two from Edge as well. That was it for the night, lights out for us. We heard it was going to be rocky for a couple of days, lots of wind heading down east, so we were ready for some rockin' and rolling:crazy:

    Up next, why I am not a fan of the 18-20 group, DCL needs to step it up :mad: and our first sea day :fish:
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2018
  8. DisneyDream2B

    DisneyDream2B DIS Veteran

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    Thank you so much for sharing your cruise report. We were booked on this cruise, but had to cancel at the last minute due to an injury.

    So excited to hear more!

    Again, thanks!
     
  9. nancipants

    nancipants Mouseketeer

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    Hahaha, I was on this cruise and know exactly what you're talking about before even reading the next entry. :P ;)
     
  10. Cheerio

    Cheerio DIS Veteran

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    February 11th - First Day at Sea!!

    I woke up about 8:30am to hearing the two youngest grumbling in their room about breakfast. I was prepared this year, by having a bag packed with everything we'd need for the morning up on deck - swimsuits, sunscreen, hats, magazine for Mom. Like our previous cruises, we had two interior connecting cabins, kids in one room, adults in the other so our stuff was spread out - we needed to be organized.
    Upstairs to Cabanas we went, grabbed a table and then while they filled their plates I went and ordered omelets for DD and I. I love that on the ship you order it and they deliver to your table, esp since we always like to sit outside by the pool and it's a long way to try and carry trays of food. After a yummy breakfast including coffee, my first of many mickey waffles and all the bacon we could eat - I settled into a lounge chair to read and watch Dumbo while the kids went swimming.

    It was pretty windy like last year, except the wind was warm not subzero, I didn't have to hide out under towels. We were certainly rocking and rolling, but I didn't feel sick which was awesome. At some point, DH showed up and I went to sit with him while he ate (and picked at some more bacon) The kids had their fill of swimming and then we went downstairs to rouse the teens. DS3 took off for his club as did DS2 after he grabbed a quick breakfast - they both loved their week in Edge and Vibe.


    Found out from my oldest DS that he had met up last night with his 18-20 club friends in Cove Cafe with a CM, this was not in the paper navigator but showed up on the phone app. Hindsight I should have added his contacts to my app so that we could have kept track of what was going on. He dropped his phone and it didn't work right the rest of the cruise. There were only 6 of them on this cruise who showed up, IMO Disney should have just absorbed them into Vibe for the week - as my DS spent a ton of time with us (not a bad thing) and in the room (not a good thing...) The rest of the week for him was hit and miss, the CM was there on days they went for lunch & mini golf. On the day they were supposed to use the simulators, no CM showed up until they went down to guest services to ask about it. As well, I understand that they organize activities on fly, but as DS's app wasn't working right - there were times he'd go to guest services to ask about what was going on and they'd have no clue. So he was alone for a couple of days until the last day, in the navigator was a bike ride on the island. Even though he was an 'adult', I think he would have had more fun in Vibe or with a more structured activity group - DS agreed. So that's my take on the 18-20 group, I definitely think it needs more structure or to be combined on the fly.

    It was time to get DD ready for the Ice Cream meet n greet for the children in our FB group at Eye Scream, we left that and took DD down for her Meet N Greets, in years previous she'd get in her Belle dress or wear something fancy, today all I got were jean shorts and a Toronto blue jay's tank top. I'm just thankful she did the photos to begin with. First up with DD was Anna and Elsa in Animators Palette, we ran into Pluto while lining up for the Princesses in the main lobby, then we ran up quick to see Sofia before grabbing lunch and then turning her loose to head up to Edge.

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    DH went with friends to go see Thor, I went to swim and sit in the sun to read for a bit and then met up with DH for a late second lunch. We ended up going back and hanging out in the hot tub with DS for a bit until it was time to get ready for dinner. Tonight was formal night and we were in Animators Palette, we went down for dinner at 5:15pm, so we could maximize the free drinks in the Atrium. Always a favorite of ours!

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    After dinner, I resisted the urge to go back and grab the second round of drinks out for the late dining people and instead got changed for the evening into more comfortable clothing. We made a quick pit stop up in Meridian and then went to get seats for Aladdin, once again, the kids had no interest in going - so DH and I went alone. Turned out to be a good thing because the theater was packed and we knocked another first time thing off my list - sitting in the balcony in the WDT. This ended up being a bad decision, as the four children behind us kicked our seats, banged us in the head with their wands and the looks to their parents - were oblivious to our glares. I was very close to saying something, and it wasn't going to be very disney like. Once the show was done, we headed over to the Tube to play the Quest, watch Maryellen Hooper and then danced a bit before going to Meridian and then eventually bed.

    Up next, our Facebook group's pub crawl day - it's going to get sloppy isn't it? #supersloppy
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2018
  11. sdjen

    sdjen DIS Veteran

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    Hi Leanne!! Thanks again for saving the trip for us - so grateful you helped us out! :worship:It was great to sail with you again too! The St Maarten excursion was awesome too!
     
  12. Cheerio

    Cheerio DIS Veteran

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    No problem Jen! I'm just glad I could help her to have a better time on the ship. We loved the excursion, a highlight of our cruise for sure :)
     
  13. Cheerio

    Cheerio DIS Veteran

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    February 12th - Second Day at Sea aka Liver have mercy! :drinking:

    Woke up at 9am today just as the two youngest were slipping out for breakfast at Cabanas. I tagged along with them, but first stopped at Cove Cafe for a coffee with Bailey's :coffee: and crossed stop #1 off my pub crawl list. Our facebook group was doing a pub crawl today, both structured where you would meet at specific times and freestyle where you'd hit up the venues at your own pace and keep receipts to prove it. With both options, we'd meet at 11pm at the Tube to draw for some prizes- so much fun! Today's goal was to complete the pub crawl, 12 stops in all and get some sun so I wouldn't burn to a crisp in St Maarten. :scared:

    After breakfast, the kids were sprayed down and went swimming while I watched the rest of the Lion King on funnel vision. After they had their fill of swimming (they were sad it was too windy and choppy for the AquaDuck to be open again today...) we went back to the room and got everyone up, while we got dressed for the day. The kids all split up to go eat with DH, go to clubs, I got into my bathing suit and went to hit up the pool and hot tub. It was still quite early, so it wasn't busy - Currents bar was open so I got my next drink of the day! :rolleyes1

    Stop #2 if you are counting. DH found me coming down from the bar, we decided to hop in the pool for a bit, it was pretty rocky, so I felt like I was in a wave pool while trying to sit quietly. Moved to the hot tub where I ordered my next drink from the roving bartender (#3!) The time flew by and the next thing I knew it was closing in on 11:30am and I had somewhere to be - the Incredible Diaper Dash at 12:15. Said goodbye to DH who was heading up to meridian, quickly got changed, grabbed some lunch in Cabanas and made it downstairs with time to spare. This is one of my fave things to watch on the ship, I want to take all the babies home with me! I had wanted to go see Coco with DD but she wasn't interested, so I ended up going back to the room for a wee nap while DH went to rum tasting class.

    Post nap, hit up Bon Voyage for a strawberry daiquiri (#4) :scared: it was shortly after that when I ran into someone else doing the pub crawl who gave me the tip of doing shots vs a full drink at every bar. Genius. After his drink class, DH and I went and hung out on Deck 13 for a bit, it was pretty windy so we didn't last long. DH wanted to get another beverage to show me one that he had made so we popped by Waves (#5) to get me a bon voyage and then grabbed me a caprihana from meridian (#6) He didn't need more alcohol, so I indulged while he chatted about his day. Dinner tonight was in enchanted garden and I was certainly starting to feel tipsy. :tongue: I did what any pub crawler would do, grabbed a shot of rumchata before dinner like a pro (#7!) Right after dinner was the 80's trivia challenge, so we had to hustle back up to O'Gills to do that. We didn't win, so we drowned our sorrows in La Piazza (shots, #8!), Ooh LaLa (shots, #9!) :drinking1 :jumping3:


    and then went to Skyline and tried the Athens (#10, not a fan...) I popped by the Vista Cafe and the bartender made me a chocolate martini which was amazing but kind of set me over the edge (#11) :crazy: and went back to the room for a bit to wait for Snippets to begin at 10pm.


    Oops, forgot about Snippets and suddenly it was time to go watch the end of the ventriloquist in the Tube and prizes to be drawn! As soon as Taylor was done his set, I grabbed a screwdriver from the Tube bar - which if you are keeping track means I finished the pub crawl! :worship: Stop #12 complete. Stayed for a bit to watch the drawing, then grabbed snacks from LaPiazza and hung out in meridian until it was time for bed. We didn't want to push it too late, we had a busy day tomorrow!

    Up next, we're in St Maarten and I am rolling up the beach. Literally. :rolleyes2:sail:
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2018
  14. lovingeire

    lovingeire DIS Veteran

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    Thank you for this very honest review of the 18-20 club. My oldest will be 19 when we cruise next year and this is one of my concerns. Fortunately my brother, while significantly older and out of this age range, is single so they are sharing a stateroom and can buddy up to do stuff. My oldest is very extraverted so he makes friends quickly. (And he's already checked the drinking age for the ports we visit...so he might have to read your son's story to caution himself! ;) )
     
  15. Cheerio

    Cheerio DIS Veteran

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    Ha, watch for my next installment - drinking age in St.Maarten is 18, and my son certainly indulged :P
     
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  16. lovingeire

    lovingeire DIS Veteran

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    I randomly, or not so much, mentioned your trip report to my oldest earlier today...LOL! Should be interesting for him to read it. Of course, I'm not sure if I'm a good influence, since I told him prior to this trip report about the painkiller on JVD, which he immediately googled and deemed worthy of trying! :drinking1:rotfl:
     
  17. heaven2dc

    heaven2dc DIS Veteran

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    Enjoying your TR! When you made it to drink #12, I had to almost pass out lol I definitely would not have made it past 4-5 drinks in that time period :sick: The years are catching up on me!

    One day I hope we can take a Disney cruise.....my one and only cruise was the Grand Princess back in October 2001 to Grand Caymen and Cozumel islands (we had to skip 2 islands due to outrunning a hurricane). I love that your family enjoy separate as well as together time.
     
  18. Cheerio

    Cheerio DIS Veteran

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    I did have a nap in there! We try to balance our time with the kiddos, and without ;) It's our vacation too and luckily they're old enough to understand that.
     
  19. lizzyb

    lizzyb DIS Veteran

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    Joining in!
     
  20. Cheerio

    Cheerio DIS Veteran

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    February 13th - St.Maarten - Catamaran Day

    I was so excited for today, which I never thought I'd ever say when going to St.Maarten, our last visit there wasn't so great (you can learn about that here http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=50972069&postcount=22 ) so I was pretty disappointed when they switched our port from Tortola to St.Maarten as we had booked specifically to go to Tortola to swim with the dolphins. We made the best of it, I wasn't fond of the DCL offerings for excursions so we booked a private excursion with some of our cruise mates through Eagle Tours and they were amazing. Great communication pre-cruise, they were waiting in the parking lot with a sign for us - and we could walk to the dock from the ship which was great. Our charter was 3.5 hours and had an open bar, DS was excited since he is 18 and that's the legal drinking age on the island. :drinking:We will do the same charter again if we are ever there again, I'd recommend it to anyone.

    Woke up this morning at 7:30am, roused the troops and they followed me up for a quick breakfast at Cabanas. It was actually raining when we got upstairs, which made me disappointed but a CM assured me that it would pass quickly and he was right. By the time we were done eating, the cloud had moved and we had amazing weather all day. All ashore was 8:30am but I am pretty sure we were off the ship a little bit before that. We had a map to follow, about 10 minutes later we were arriving at the dock and checking in for our charter. The charter company was great, since they weren't as busy due to the hurricane and lack of visitors, they upgraded us to the bigger catamaran for the day. While we waited, we sprayed everyone down with sunscreen, especially for this mama who burns all the time. Once everyone had arrived, we got on board, signed waivers and grabbed our first drinks of the day, off we went! They took us around the west side of the island, the damage of buildings was surreal - so much devastation as you'll see in the pics at the bottom of my report.

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    Going by the airport, no planes landing

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    The water was pretty choppy, but the sun had come out to play and our hostess for the day was doling out drinks for all - we were having a great time. We pulled into a beach area right outside of Belmond La Samanna (we only know because people on our boat were able to connect to their wi-fi while we were hanging out!) and those who wanted to swim were welcome to jump out and swim near the boat or head toward the public beach. Most of the people hopped in and started to swim, DD and I grabbed pool noodles and floated in to shore, or so we tried. There were a few bigger waves, which were pushing us in and then pulling us back out, super fun, until I watched those who had just gotten up onto the beach knocked down by a huge wave. It was all fun and games until I found myself tossed onto the beach (literally) by a huge wave. :rotfl:(That's me, rolling out of the water) At least it saved me from that awkward try to stand up on the beach without looking like a beached animal, you should see me trying to get out of the aquaduck tubes :rolleyes1 I had sand EVERYWHERE.

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    We were able to swim for just over an hour, the hotel right there was still closed (and still is!) so it was almost like a private beach for 35 of us, tried to wash off as much sand as we could in the catamaran shower on the back of the boat (note: didn't work too well). Started our trip back to the dock, it was choppy and the kids were having a great time on the trampolines at the front with the spray soaking them every time we'd hit a big one. Drinks were still flowing freely and it's about that time that DS really started to enjoy himself with the 'free' beverages that were offered. Haha. We got back to the dock and as we were getting off, they offered him beer so he grabbed two for the walk back to the ship - he finished both in about 5 minutes and I think that was about the time he started to feel it - he started to stalk lik dis. :stir: Yup we were those parents who let their son legally drink, didn't cut him off and then laughed at him as he staggered back to the ship. :ssst: Quite a few of the shops in the port area were still closed, others running on generators, it was sad to see. DS went for a much needed nap after eating some pizza, I went to the gym showers because I had about 10,000 pounds of sand on me, while the others showered in our rooms and then wandered off to their respective clubs. I'm pretty sure whoever showered after me was able to make a sandcastle and I did attempt to get most of it down the drain. :hourglass

    Since there wasn't much going on, I decided to go do some laundry and get sand out of our clothing. It was a good decision as there wasn't anyone using the washers and I could do 4 loads without feeling guilty. After laundry, it was our cruise group's mixology class - we managed to fill three of them, this was the second of three. One was offered on a sea say (sunday) and then the other two at 4pm on port days, which wasn't a biggie for most people. Loved getting to meet some of those people we trip planned for months with, the beverages weren't too bad either. Marco is the best bartender, he showed us how to make a yummy raspberry mojito which I drank the rest of the cruise.

    After mixology, we went to rouse DS for dinner. Tonight we were in royal court, I should have let him sleep it off, but figured he needed a decent meal - what does he order - fish. He didn't have any appetizers, just a ginger ale, took one bite of his entree and stood up announcing he was going back to bed, I'm thankful he didn't vomit on the table :sick: After dinner DH and I went to watch the pirate show, saw some awesome fireworks and then headed to the hot tub to have some post dinner beverages and a soak. I think I like doing the fireworks at an earlier time, for us they were at 7:30pm and then there was a dance party. At 10:15, we went to watch Maryellen Hooper and then stayed for karaoke, which was interesting and a bit of DJ Pete before heading in for the night. DS had just woken up and was ordering some room service, so I ordered some more food and tossed DS some advil before bed.

    You can see some of the carnage here and in one photo, how high the waves got on that hill! :sad1:

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    Next up - there's no butterflies here, it's Valentine's Day, we're in St Thomas and who is hungover? :cold:
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2018
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  21. lovingeire

    lovingeire DIS Veteran

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    LOL, I think my oldest would probably have to sleep it off too! Oh man! Sounds like a fun day otherwise!
     

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