Disney Magic to the Bahamas?? Day 5

Day 5 Saturday October 3

Day at Sea!

CSP & I decided an early breakfast is a good idea so we were back at Cabanas at 7:30 am, even with losing an hour due to the time change.  Then it was back to the room for a nap.  I was tired as CSP didn’t get in until very late from his movie and he decided to shake my foot to wake me up and let me know he made it back.  We’re on a ship!  How far can you go?  Then I lost an hour on top of that so I was ready for my after breakfast nap.

We woke up and dressed and went up to Cabanas for lunch.  Here’s where I’m not a fan of buffets.  I love a good breakfast buffet but lunch and dinner I have a hard time.  I found some gnocchi and had a spoonful of that but that was it.  Meanwhile CSP was chowing down on some peel and eat shrimp. I love shrimp but I hate having to peel them.  It’s the prissy in me.  I thought I’d have time to grab something by the pool to eat like the schwarma, but next thing we knew it was almost 2 pm.

Time for Mixology!

We headed down to Keys bar.  There were about 30 of us who signed up for this class.  Each class is different in that you learn different drinks and techniques.  And it’s only $20 each!  You get 5 drinks for the $20, not bad considering your average cocktail on the ship runs about $8!  This is where I wished I had eaten more at lunch!  We made a Double Crown, Sea day Ratatouille Martini,Sea day Dr. Pepper (with beer),Sea day a B 52 shot,Sea day and a classic mojito.Sea day  I drank CSP’s martini and shot and gave him my mojito.  I like the flavored mojitos but am not crazy about the classic.

At the beginning of the class the bartender called up 4 of the men to do what he called a Taxi Cab. Sea day It was a shot of beer and then you’re supposed to drink the rest of your Corona as fast as you can, but the kicker is the bartender filled up the Coronas with Bacardi Limon!  And you’re supposed to do all this while standing on one foot.  Well CSP was called up to drink the Taxi Cab. Sea day All was fine until the one foot thing!  Kevin finished his cab the fastest!  We were having so much fun and had so many drinks to finish that when the class was over we just moved to party next door to O’Gill’s.

Jo, from the cruise staff, was in O’Gill’s hosting a pub quiz.  We signed up right away.  I love trivia.  Amy won!  She won 4 Disney Cruise Line baseball caps and gave CSP and I one each. Sea day Fun!

You might have noticed in some pictures I’m wearing a lanyard around my neck with a card in a plastic pouch.  I wanted to take a moment to explain the card.   It’s your Key To The World card and it acts as your room key and credit card while you’re on the ship.  You also present it to get on and off the ship. There’s a lot of information on this card.  Your name, the sail dates, the ship name, A for adult or C for child, what level Castaway Club member you are, your reservation number, dinner time, dining room rotation, table number, and the big letter is your muster station.

Then it was time to go back to the room to dress for dinner.  Our last dinner on the ship!  Tonight was in Carioca’s Sea day and it was a South American theme.  At the beginning of dinner at the large table next to us a man got down on one knee and proposed!  She said yes!  The room went wild!  It was SO loud all night.  We said our thank you’s and goodbyes to our wait staff.  They were so great!  Back to the room to pack. Sea day We didn’t get to sleep until almost 1 am!  Yikes!

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Disney Magic to the Bahamas?? Day 4

Day 4 Friday October 2

Cozumel, Mexico!

Today CSP & I woke up super early to catch the breakfast buffet at a much less busy time.  It was so peaceful in Cabanas without the masses! After breakfast we went back to our room for a nap.  Nothing like an after breakfast nap!   We woke up and got dressed and went to Lumiere’s for lunch.  On the way we ran into Amy & Kevin who were on their way to a Tequila Tasting!  We decided not to get off the ship today as CSP’s foot was hurting him and we couldn’t afford a set back in his recovery.

At lunch Bianca from South Africa stopped by our table!  She was our server the 2 previous cruises on the Magic.  She remembered us!  It’s amazing to me that they can recognize a face out of the millions they see!  After lunch we went up to the pool deck and scored 2 of the coveted loungers in the shade. Cozumel There are only 8 of them and they are usually all taken by 8 am!  But it pays to stay on the ship when everyone else gets off!  I bought CSP and I some water shoes so we put those on and got in the hot tub.  He couldn’t go barefoot with his broken foot and needed some support. The whirlpool felt great on his poor feet.  Cozumel Our loungers were on the port side so we had front row seats to the pier when the skies opened up.  There was a huge rainstorm.  Remnants of Joaquin I’m sure. We spent the whole afternoon on the pool deck just lounging and getting in and out of the whirlpool.  Then it was time to get showered and dressed for dinner.

Tonight’s dinner was back in Animator’s Palate Cozumel Cozumel and it was Pirate Night! Cozumel I love seeing all the people dressed up as pirates.

After dinner we went up to Deck 10 for the fireworks. Cozumel Cozumel We had great seats and Disney put on a fantastic show.  Cozumel Cozumel Then CSP & Kevin decided to go see Ant Man in the theatre.  Amy and I decided to retire to our cabins and hit the hay! Cozumel It was a really relaxing day!

Disney Magic to the Bahamas?? Day 3

Day 3  October 1

Key West!

Our ship was diverted to Key West for our first stop because of Hurricane Joaquin.  We were only allowed to be on the island from 8 am to 1:45 pm! Well, none of the fun bars open before 11 am and we’re respectable adults. 🙂  No one wants to take day drinking to the 10 am level!  So at 9 we ate breakfast at the buffet at Cabanas.  We got off the ship and took the shuttle to Downtown Key West. It was when I was packing my day bag for Key West that I realized I left my prescription AND regular sunglasses in my car!  Boo!  Thank goodness Amy had some cute ones in my goody bag!  Our first stop in KW was Ron Jon Surf Shop where I picked up some cute sunglasses so I’d have a backup pair.  Then we went to CSP’s favorite, Sloppy Joe’sKey West We hung out there for about an hour Key West then stopped into Irish Kevin’s so our Irish Kevin could buy a hat. On the way there I got sucked into one of those over priced lotion stores by the sales dude who was slathering sea salt scrub all over me.  Before I knew what was happening he was bagging up $80 scrub and lotion!  Luckily Amy came in and saved me!  I hate confrontation and I know Lotion Dude was not happy with me leaving empty handed!  Amy & Kevin had to stop into CVS so CSP and I grabbed drinks at Starbucks (we had been saving up our free drinks to use on this trip).  It was a brand new Starbucks which was mercifully air conditioned but there was no seating! So back outside we went.  CSP & I found some shade on some steps while we waited for Amy & Kevin.  Then it was on the tram back to the ship!  On the way back to the ship we saw tons of the famous Key West chickens. Key West I just love how they hang out everywhere!

Our time in Key West went way too fast!  We were changed into our swimwear and up on the pool deck by 2 pm! Key West We grabbed something to eat at the lite bites counters.  I tried chicken schwarma and it was so good!  CSP got a coke from the bar and they served it in these cool cans. Key West He LOVED the Coke on the ship because it was made with real sugar!  We hung out for a while at the pool and people watched until we realized the Vacation Planning Desk was open.  So we scooted down to deck 4 and got in line to book our future cruises.  If you book online you save 10% and get a handsome onboard credit!  We booked for October 2016 and a placeholder cruise (which is now February 2017) because the 2017 prices weren’t out at the time.

Back to O’Gill’s for another pre-dinner drink.  Amy & Kevin had gone back to their room instead of O’Gill’s (I think) but we were able to keep in touch via Disney’s cruise app which allows texting! Key West So cute and fun!  And free!  So many Disney emojis!

We went back to the room and showered and dressed for dinner. Key West CSP enjoyed a beer in his new coozie courtesy of Amy & Kevin while I got ready. Tonight’s dinner was in Animator’s Palate.  It was a Pacific Rim theme.  Here’s where things got a little wonky.  At the first dinner we noticed that some kids were running through the dining room.  That’s no good for SO many reasons. But tonight at dinner it got out of control when Amy was hit in the head by a flying paper airplane!  People!  I know it’s a Disney cruise but that’s no excuse to allow your children to go wild!  After dinner we went back to our rooms for bed. Key West By now we knew our final itinerary. And we had to set our clocks back an hour. Where to next??

Cruising Tips and Tricks Vol. 2

I’m fresh off my 4th Disney cruise and my 13th cruise overall.  My Cruising Tips and Tricks blog post has gotten quite a few reads so I thought I’d update my tips list with a few more tricks I’ve learned.

– Drive or fly to the port the day before your cruise.  You don’t want a wreck or construction on the interstate or delayed flights to make you miss your cruise.  This gives you time to decompress and run to the store if you realized you forgot something.  Plus, if your port city is interesting you can explore it a little.

-Board the ship as soon as you can.  You’ve paid for this cruise, you might as well be on board every minute possible!  Use this time to explore the ship before the crowds and activities set in.

– The night before, if you’re cruising out of Port Canaveral, consider staying at Disney instead of a port hotel.  We stayed at Art of Animation, a Disney value resort, for the same price as a standard hotel in Port Canaveral.  Staying on Disney property meant we were able to extend the magic a little bit and also eat dinner at ‘Ohana in Walt Disney World.

– If you’re a soda or alcohol drinker, consider buying a soda or adult beverage package. Some cruise lines charge for soda and they can really add up.  And all cruise lines charge for alcohol.  There are wine, beer, soda, and cocktail packages available at multiple price points.  They can really save you money!

– Try the premium restaurants on your cruise ship at least once.  They often have a surcharge, but it’s nice to get away for a fine dining experience.  If you can’t get a reservation before your cruise, check as soon as you board as they may have cancellations and can get you in.

-Unpack on day 1. No, it’s no fun but if you unpack now and stow those big, bulky suitcases under your bed your stateroom will feel so much larger.  Speaking of making your room feel larger, spend 5 minutes each day and just tidy it up a bit.  You’ll be able to find everything more easily in addition to maximizing your space.

-Pack a small container of baby powder.  Sprinkle it on your sandy skin and the sand will release like magic!

-If you’re a social person and are on Facebook, join your cruise’s Facebook group.  Most sailings have a Facebook group.  Just go to the search bar and type in your ship’s name and sail date and your group will come up.  These groups are great places to learn insider tips and get to know fellow cruisers.  My cruise group for this cruise had a cocktail party meet up, a Mixology class and we organized a Fish Extender exchange. Plus it’s just fun to share in the excitement and anticipation of your upcoming cruise with other people who are literally in the same boat.

-Book your excursions through your cruise ship company.  You can trust the companies they work with and most importantly, your ship won’t leave without you.  Sure, it may cost a few dollars more, but peace of mind is worth it.

– If you decide to go it on your own for your excursion- do your homework.  Research everything you can online, compare prices, and you’ll come out ahead. When we rented an electric car for the day in Key West I had taken a screen shot of the company’s website deal on my phone.  They used it as a coupon and gave us our 3rd hour free.  The people next in line renting the same car at the same time paid the same price for only 2 hours.  And always, always ask for a discount.  They may say no, but you may save some money!

-If you don’t mind eating breakfast on the road or in town and not on the ship, then choose Express Walk Off/ Debarkation on the last morning of your cruise.  The lines will be MUCH shorter and you’ll be at your car/shuttle/airport much more quickly.  You have to carry your own luggage but these days with spinner suitcases that’s a much easier feat.

– Be sure to carry lots of small bills with you on your trip.  You’ll need them for many things: tipping room service waitstaff, tipping porters/ luggage handlers, tipping drivers/tour conductors, etc.  You might just make someone’s day with a nice tip, and they might just make your cruise even more magical!
Disney Fantasy

Hope you find these tips helpful!  Happy cruising!

Disney Magic Western Caribbean Day 8- Heading home

We woke up at 6 to be in the main lobby at 7.  We carried our own luggage off the ship and if you do that you can walk right off at 7am!  No waiting in line at customs!  We breezed right through and were in the packed car by 7:20!!!  That means we skipped breakfast on the ship but  we just grabbed a bagel a little ways down the road.

Before I wrap up this trip report I have to tell you about Disney’s new cruise line app.  It’s awesome! I think CSP loved it even more than I did!  I took some screen shots on the last day so you could see what it covers.  It works via Disney’s wi-fi so it doesn’t cost you anything and you can have your phone in airplane mode while using it.  We used it every single day, multiple times a day.

The welcome page: IMG_6428

Page 2: IMG_6429  You can see all activities based on age group.  Then touch the activity and it gives you a detailed description, plus the location and times. And when you find something you want to remember to attend, just press the heart and a reminder will pop up on your phone 15 minutes before the activity starts!

Page 3: IMG_6430  Every day would be a different article.

Page 4: IMG_6431  You can find out when your favorite character would be appearing.

Page 5: IMG_6432 The menus.  This was CSP’s favorite part.  He liked being able to plan his meals ahead of time.  You could see what they were eating in Palo and all the other restaurants.

Page 6: IMG_6433

Page 7: IMG_6434

Page 8: IMG_6435

Main Menu: IMG_6436 LOVED the deck plans.  Really cuts down on getting lost. This app really has everything you need in it!

We made good time going home and arrived just before 5 pm.  CSP’s parents took us out to dinner and we gave them their cruise surprises.  But first we loaded up on pug kisses!  This was an amazing cruise and we had the best time!!!  Can’t wait for the next one!

Disney Magic Western Caribbean Day 7- Castaway Cay!

Today was Castaway Cay day! DSC_0199 We were docked from 9:30am – 4:45pm.  Castaway Cay is Disney’s private island.  It’s amazing! IMG_6416 We got up early and had breakfast at Cabanas then headed down to the gangway.  Just outside the ship we bought Kyle, CSP’s new cooler.  He named it.  Kyle. IMG_6415 That boy cracks me up!  Kyle came with a 6 pack of water.  After we picked up Kyle we hopped on the tram to Serenity Bay, the adults only beach.  We found some chairs in the shade of an umbrella and had a wonderful morning! IMG_6419 We read and swam and CSP was even able to snag a hammock!  He promptly fell asleep in said hammock and I’d have to wake him up periodically when the snores got too loud!   It was a perfect, beautiful day.  Sunny but not too hot.  The water was pretty cold and a little choppy but you got used to it.  There were all these little birds running around between our chairs.  So teeny! IMG_6420  Our morning view:   IMG_6417 NOT TOO SHABBY for February!

At about 1:30 we had lunch on the island at the barbecue hut they have set up.  They have all sorts of salads to choose from as well as mahi mahi, brats, burgers, etc.  Even ice cream!  After lunch we took the tram to Pelican Point at the family beach. Our friends the McC’s had a cabana and invited us to come visit.  They dropped our wristbands off at dinner last night. I checked in at the Cabana station and told them we were looking for cabana #7.  They called us a golf cart taxi and drove us to the cabana!  Nice!
We spent the rest of the day with the McC’s hanging on the beach and in their cabana. IMG_6422 Man, that’s the way to live! IMG_6423 The cabana was SO niceIMG_6427 and came with so many amenities! IMG_6424 Drinks, fruit, sunscreen, towels, a safe, lounge furniture, a hammock (CSP jumped right in),IMG_6426 a changing room, outdoor shower, foot wash, use of floats and inner tubes, the works! IMG_6425 A & I took chairs down to the water, stuck our feet in the ocean and chatted while CSP waded out in the ocean with the McC kids.  Those kids took to him like fish to water and he was so good with them.  We stayed until the last possible moment then it was time to pack up and head back to the ship.  We didn’t have dinner until 8:15 though so when we got on the ship CSP & I went to the hot tub again.  That CSP loves a hot tub!  Eventually it was time to get dressed for our last dinner of the cruise.
DSC_0218 Tonight we dined in Animator’s Palate. DSC_0219 DSC_0200 DSC_0207 The menu was more limited tonight I suppose because it’s the last night and because of the animation show.  DSC_0206 When we sat down at our seats were 2 big place matt looking things with green markers.DSC_0202 We followed the instructions on the paper which said to draw a character in the spaces provided.DSC_0204  Then our server took our papers away.
We both had the appetizer sampler (duck confit, mozzarella, and shrimp). DSC_0208 CSP had my duck. DSC_0205 There was just one soup- a macaroni and cheese soup, so we both had that.  It was surprisingly good!  For our entrees CSP chose the seafood pasta DSC_0209 and I went with the Beef Wellington. DSC_0210 I’d always seen it on Hell’s Kitchen so I thought I’d try it.  Really tasty!  Dessert was a trio of celebration cake, chocolate decadence & cappuccino mousse tartlet for me DSC_0211 and one last Mickey Bar for CSP.   He also took my mousse tartlet.
During dinner they took our drawings and animated them on the screens by the table and set them to music. DSC_0216 It was too cute!  DSC_0217 Our little guys were dancing across the screen!  DSC_0214 After dinner we hugged our servers (mad I didn’t get a picture of them) and went back to our room.  We packed up all our stuff and got ready for bed. DSC_0222 Debarkation comes early so we needed to get some sleep!

Disney Magic Western Caribbean Day 6- At Sea

We woke up early today (at 7) because on sea days it’s much harder to snag a good chair by the pool.  I’m super fair so I need one in the shade.   We went up to breakfast at Cabana’s then scored 2 good chairs at Quiet Cove.  We read and I may have dozed off for a little while.  It was really cool and windy.  The ship was rocking and so was the pool!  It was cool enough out that they passed out blankets again to those of us silly enough to be up on deck.

At lunch time we dressed for lunch and went to Lumiere’s.  Appetizers:  I got the Tangerine Soup (like a smoothie) and shrimp cocktail.  IMG_6403 CSP got the salmon and a mixed green salad.

IMG_6402.  For our entrees I ordered the Cobb Salad and CSP got the burger.

IMG_6407  The server gave CSP a ketchup Mickey. IMG_6408 For dessert CSP had the apple strudel IMG_6410 and I had an almond tartlet. IMG_6409 After lunch it was nap time back in our room!

We woke up and got back into swim suits and went back to Quiet Cove.  We read some more, did the hot tub, and we were going to swim but the wind was really kicking so I backed out.  CSP was up for it though! IMG_6411  Poor guy was out there all alone!  But it was freezing!  I was fine in the hot tub but as soon as my dripping wet self hit that cold wind I was done with the water sports for the day! 

IMG_6412

 But CSP was loving it!  So I wrapped up in towels and blankets and read while he went back and forth from the pool to the hot tub.  We stayed out there until almost 7pm!  Then it was time for showers and getting dressed for dinner.

Dinner tonight was at Lumiere’s. DSC_0177 DSC_0176 For his appetizer CSP chose the oysters Rockefeller DSC_0179 and I chose the shrimp.DSC_0180  We both had the Wild Mushroom Soup.  Tonight was Lobster night so CSP was all kinds of excited to get his lobster tail. DSC_0181 I ordered the pork tenderloin with polenta and mushrooms. DSC_0182 CSP got another Mickey bar for dessert DSC_0184and I went with the Trio of creme brulee, apple pie, and cheesecake.DSC_0183

Back to our room and we were locked out again! This time we were let in to our room within 10 minutes and by the time we woke up the next day our lock was fixed again.  We got to bed early tonight because tomorrow is Castaway Cay!  There’s lots to do so we have to be up early!  But before we go…a tour of our room: Stateroom 7556. DSC_0186 Note we have a red Cruising with Mickey bag as our temporary Fish Extender.  That’s all thanks to the McC’s!  DSC_0185  We started with zero door magnets and ended up with a TON because of our fabulous FE friends!  DSC_0188  DSC_0192 DSC_0193  There’s tons of storage!  We didn’t even use all the drawers and shelves! DSC_0191 DSC_0190 Pay no attention to all of our bags and CSP’s stuff.  I told you he didn’t unpack!  Drove me crazy!  But note the full size sofa (which converts to a bed) and above it is a bunk bed. DSC_0194  Across from the sofa and coffee table is the fabulous vanity and stool.  DSC_0189  The TV is on a swivel so you can view it from anywhere in the room.  There’s a safe in every room.  It’s big enough to hold my big camera and our wallets and CSP’s headphones.  The bathroom is split.  This one has a sink, a bunch of shelves, and the toilet. DSC_0196 This one has a sink and the tub/shower.  DSC_0195 We had a stateroom with verandah. DSC_0197DSC_0198 DSC_0175 I love all the hidden Mickeys!

Ok, Good night!  Castaway Cay awaits!  DSC_0187