We recently came back from our first Disney cruise. It was a 4-day trip to Nassau and Castaway Cay in the Bahamas, and it has been one of the best vacations we have take thus far. We’re relatively new to cruising, only cruised once before with Carnival, and we are absolute Disney freaks, so it just made sense to try this out as a way of celebrating our birthdays. Let me tell you that the magic, as cliched as it may sound, of Disney is magnified tenfold in the cruise. The attention to detail, the customer service, the drive to make sure everyone is happy is amazing. The food is delicious, and the activities for the kids, well, priceless. Here’s a recap with some pics.
Day 1 – Embarkation day at Cape Canaveral
We had to drive up to Cape Canaveral on the same day the cruise left, so it was a race to the Disney finish line. We left a little later than expected and had to stop to get lunch for a cranky toddler, but amidst all the rush, we made it at the port with time to spare – barely. It was 2 and we needed to be on by 4pm. We arrived and went quickly through the check-in-process, got our pictures taken by smiling “cast members,” and held our breaths in as we crossed over the planks that connected us to the hotel on the water. As we approached the entrance, there were rows of men and women in sailor’s uniforms greeting us. One young man stopped us, asked us our last name and where we were from, and then proceeded to announce our arrival into the ship via loud speakers: “The A family has arrived all the way from Miami!” All the white and navy uniformed men and women clapped and we were ushered in, flustered and smiling, while the next family received Disney’s version of the royal treatment.
Once onboard, we took a few seconds to look around and made our way to change our dining time. We had been allocated the 2nd seating, which was at 8PM, much too late to have dinner with a toddler. Thankfully, the change was no problem, and we were freed of the unwanted time. Our new dining time was 5:45 – much more reasonable.
We headed to the cabin, and again briefly looked around; we had to hurry or we wouldn’t make lunch. As soon as we walked in, we noticed the two bathrooms on our right. One contained a sink and toilet, the other a sink and bathtub. Yes, bathtub. From what I hear, very few cruised have bathtubs. This tub was a savior for giving L his bath because it also contained a shower hose that we could bring down and “hose” him down. I’m not sure what the correct term for that is, but I’m sure you get what I mean. After the bathrooms was the bed, a royal-blue-covered queen bed, in which all three of us ended sleeping, limbs nestled between limbs. Beyond the bed was the sofa, which also converted into a bed, a desk with a mini-fridge, TV and vanity mirror, and the window – a large port hole that provided ample light and scenery when we were close to land. The room was a good size compared to other cruise cabins, although like with all cruise cabins, they’re not good for those who are claustrophobic.
We dropped off the stroller and our day bag, and made our way up, with welcome papers in hand, to the 9th deck (we were on the 2nd) where the Beach Blanket restaurant was serving lunch for the next 15 minutes. The Beach Blanket was a buffet eatery that became our breakfast place of choice over the next couple days. This day, for lunch, they had a varied selection of sea food, chicken, and beef. I had some fish and chicken, J had some chicken and beef, and L had some chicken and mac-n-cheese with fruits. Oh, and sodas are included in the cruise! That was a pleasant surprise! We ate inside, quickly, but savored the moment of rest. We were finally on board and there was no more need to rush anywhere.
After the meal, we meandered a bit but made our way back to the room to throw on the life jackets for the mandatory drill at 4 pm. It was funny walking around with the neon orange flotation device sitting awkwardly over the shoulders and around the chest, and we weren’t sure where exactly we were going, but we saw many orange dots bobbing on the 4th deck and assumed we were in the right place. We were. After the drill, and after leaving the life jackets back in the room, we went back up to deck 9 for the sailaway party. There, some cast members along with the characters danced and sang, while the horn on the ship tooted the “When You Wish Upon A Star” melody. All passangers were watching, dancing and taking pictures or video. Many had their swim suits on because they’d been smart and arrived at noon to take advantage of the pools. Others, like us, were walking around in part-beachy, part-traveling clothes wrinkled by sitting too long. A young boy caught my attention. He was about 7 or 8, with a bald head, holding the hand of a woman. His shirt read “The Make-a-Wish Foundation Made My WIsh Come True.” I stopped breathing for a moment and my eyes welled up with tears. I said a prayer for him, and thought how much fun and excitement he must feel knowing that he got to do this before… it really made me stop in my tracks and ponder the meaning and justice of this life.
After the characters and cat members sang, they introduced some of the Disney Channel stars: Michel Musso and Jason Earles from Hannah Montana, and two others. It was pretty cool, although I laughed quietly because here I was, an almost-30-year-old mom getting somewhat excited about Disney Channel stars. I mean, I watch the shows and they remind me of younger days, so I thought it was pretty cool meeting/seeing them.
Once that was over, we made our way back to the cabin to get dressed for dinner. We had dinner at Tritons first. Tritons is a restaurant “under the sea,” inspired by none-other than The Littler Mermaid. Several enchanting mosaics depict King Triton’s underwater kingdom and family. There are columns throughout the restaurant featuring circular tops, reminding guests of bubbles. The fare is French, with many traditional French dishes, such as escargots and creme brule. I got brave and ordered the escargots baked in a garlic sauce. I’ve always wanted to try them, and this day, I felt brave. When the appetizer arrived, it looked more like a dessert dish than slimy, crawling critters. To my surprise, there wasn’t much distaste. They were rather good! The texture was not bad – think softened gummy candy, but a little less chewy. The taste, well, it was garlicy. That’s really all I could taste – the garlic. I gave some to L to try and would you believe my son ate the pieces I gave him and kept opening his mouth for more! This little one won’t eat eggs, but he’ll eat onions, lemon, and escargot! Go figure.
That’s it for now, but tomorrow I’ll continue (day 1’s not over yet!).