Sunday, December 11, 2011

Surprise! A Disney Cruise to the Bahamas 12.11.11


We’ve spent the past week sitting still at a Campground outside of Port Canaveral.  I know, it doesn’t happen too often that we sit still but that’s exactly what we’ve been doing.  That and simply relaxing – doing a lot of nothing.  Reading, sitting in the sunshine, walking, and not a lot else! 

But since we had a few extra days until we met my folks in Orlando, we booked a last-minute 3 day cruise on the Disney Dream to the Bahamas – Nassau & Castaway Cay.  Sweet! 

Disney
Dream Cruise Ship

This was our first Disney Cruise and we were both leery of being surrounded by kids but figured we could hang for 3 days.  Either that or we would be driven absolutely crazy!  Haha…  But to tell you the truth, we both absolutely loved it.  There was so much to do we came back exhausted and ready for another!  I just can’t say enough good stuff about the cruise – everything was spectacular.  Not only the food, entertainment, & activities but especially the staff, which was one of the best and most warm & welcoming I have ever experienced.  We couldn’t walk by any of the staff without getting a smile and a Hello from them.  We have been on other cruise lines – NCL & Carnival – and this one topped them by far.  In fact, we were both plotting when we could take the next one….on the Disney ship.  I know, crazy, right?!  Haha..

The Disney Dream is a gorgeous ship, commissioned just this January.  The ship was incredible and was decked out with Christmas decorations.  Christmas trees were around every corner, garland & lights were hanging everywhere and Christmas music was playing 24/7 (and we didn’t even get tired of it!). 

Inside
the Disney Dream Cruise Ship

Our cabin was a comfy size with an extra large balcony….nice… 

Our cabin
on the Disney Dream Cruise Ship

Once we were on board, we threw down our stuff and quickly scoped out the ship, making sure to spot all of the ‘adults-only’ places on board.  :-) We settled in to Cruise mode with a couple cold drinks with little umbrellas on top and before we knew it, it was departure time! 

Michael
on the bow of the Disney Dream Cruise Ship

We stood at the bow of the boat while the lines were untied & it started moving.  We waved at all of the folks waving to us on shore and jumped out of our skin when the ship horn blasted….though it sang songs!  Like “When you wish upon a star” and the Disney them song.  It was a bit overcast and chilly and by the time we were about half way out of the Port, it started to drizzle on us.  Our dinner time was 5:30 so we went back to the cabin to get ready…but along the way ran into Minnie!  Woohoo!!  She gave us some Minnie kisses and we posed for a photo…

Minnie on
the Disney Dream Cruise Ship

We met several of the Disney characters during the cruise as there were meet & greets every day at different times & areas through the ship.  Though there were lots of opportunities to meet all of the Disney characters including all of the Princesses, villains, pirates, and even Santa Claus himself!  We saw most of them…and had photos taken with…

Pluto…

Pluto
with us on the Disney Dream Cruise Ship

Chip and Dale…

Chip and
Dale on the Disney Dream Cruise Ship

Goofy…

Goofy on
the Disney Dream Cruise Ship

And of course Mickey!!

Mickey
Mouse on the Disney Dream Cruise Ship

The meals on board were delicious – each item artfully prepared with scrumptious ingredients.  The portions were just right and the waitstaff helped us choose between the many options.  And if we couldn’t choose, they would bring us both!  I had that problem one night, I simply couldn’t choose my entrée as both the black bean cakes with chipotle sauce and filet mignon were both calling my name.  I oscillated for a while and finally asked our server, Ronald, his opinion.  He said politely I should go with the filet and said the black bean cakes were not his favorite but then said he would bring out both.  And he was right.  Haha!  This is the menu for the last night….which would you choose?!

Menu from
the Disney Dream Cruise Ship

Menu from
the Disney Dream Cruise Ship

Appetizer
menu on the Disney Dream Cruise Ship

Menu from
the Disney Dream Cruise Ship

I absolutely LOVE scallops so that’s what I chose….and it didn’t disappoint!

Dinner on
the Disney Dream Cruise Ship

There were 3 main restaurants, each one a different theme and decorated to the nines for the theme.  One was an Enchanted forest which was from the Alice in Wonderland movie and was all in white & green and the lighting changed during the course of the dinner, simulating sunset.  Another was called Animator’s Palate and had large flat screen TV’s on the walls and while waiting for your food, Nemo & Crush & all the characters from the Finding Nemo movie came swimming by and talked to you….literally….and you talked back!  I still don’t know how they did it but some diners had full on conversations with the characters on the screen (they didn’t talk to us, sob!).  It was way cool.   Our servers followed us to the different restaurants to take care of us.  They were great – remembering what we liked to drink & having it ready for us when we sat at the table.  They were very personable and we enjoyed chatting with them every evening. 

Our
servers on the Disney Dream Cruise Ship

After dinner every evening we went to the Main Event – Broadway style shows featuring the Disney Characters.  The first one was called the “Golden Mickey’s” – similar to the Golden Globes…where they gave out awards for different categories like Best Villain, Best Hero, Best Princess, etc.  It was very entertaining.  The next night was called ‘Villains Tonight’ and it wasn’t my favorite but still cute.  The last night was called ‘Disney’s Believe’ and was fantastic – I don’t know if there was a dry eye in the room.  All three were very professional & great shows.

Shows on
the Disney Dream Cruise Ship

And that’s just on the ship…not to mention our two stops in Nassau & Castaway Cay.  Nassau was…without sounding incredibly cruel….a dirty little town with gorgeous crystal clear water & white sandy beaches.    

Nassau
Beaches

It wasn’t my favorite.  Maybe I would have another opinion if I wasn’t being dropped in the heart of tourist central but I wasn’t impressed with anything other than the beach.  We took a taxi to one of the main resorts, the Atlantis, where we walked around the marina & beach. 

The
Atlantis resort in Nassau

Rene in Nassau

We relaxed for a while, chatted & walked the area with another family we had met on the ship, wandered through the shops & street vendors, found a geocache, and eventually made our way back onto the ship just before departure.  It was OK.  I can say I’ve been there but wasn’t overly impressed.

The next day we were in Castaway Cay which was, oh so phenomenal.  I can’t say enough about this place – it was spectacular and we didn’t want to leave.  We even asked that they leave us behind and pick us back up next week, but they wouldn’t go for it.  Bummer.  :-)  Castaway Cay is Disney’s private island and truth be told, I was originally not interested in this stop.  I figured it would be too, ummm, kidsy?  I know that’s not a word but there would be splashing in the water and crazy running kids disturbing my reading & relaxing.  Spoiled, aren’t I?!  ;-)

We received a map the night before and lo and behold….there was an Adult only beach!  Woohoo!  Those Disney folks have thought of everything!  Haha…  We rented bicycles and set off to check out the island.    (An over the shoulder photo…)

Michael
& Rene on bicycles in Castaway Cay

We found the lookout tower and searched for another geocache (hey, is that a GPS in your hand?)

Michael
& Rene on Castaway Cay

And went in search of the Adult-only beach…..and was not disappointed!!  :-)

This was heaven.  The water was crystal clear & blue, there were lounge chairs &  hammocks (which I fell asleep, I mean read a book in), friendly folks around….it was perfect.  Lunch was served right on the beach and they had these amazing waiters who had an uncanny way of knowing exactly when you needed your icy drinks with little umbrellas refilled.  Oh my gosh, I did not want to leave.  We were about the last people on the beach and it was all Michael could do to drag me back on board.  Now this island is exactly what I had in mind when I wanted to see the Bahamas.  No vendors on the beach, no traffic, no lines, just a white sandy beach.  Ahhh….I can still see it clearly. 

Heaven in
Castaway Cay

Back on board we stayed busy…listening to steel drums on deck while we sailed away, building a gingerbread house (my first!), watching the entertainment, laughing at the couples who were not having any fun at all (even on vacation there are arguments & disagreements - we know this for a fact working in the industry and still find it funny).  One of my favorite things to do was to watch the Disney Characters interact with the kids, to see how excited they were (or not!) to meet them, to have the special time with each of them.  It was very heartwarming.

Gingerbread
House making on the Disney Dream Cruise Ship

Oh and the fireworks!  How could I forget!?!  We knew a couple of the staff from working with them in Alaska – the Shore Excursions Manager, Jennifer, & the Cruise Director, Clayton – and were treated to a special, private viewing for the fireworks show on the 2nd night.  What a treat!  The night was pirate night and they gave out special Pirates in the Caribbean bandanas for everyone to wear and had a fun dance party where the main pool was before shooting off fireworks. 

Michael
& Rene on the Disney Dream Cruise Ship

Oh geez, there is so much else we did & saw, I could write a book!  :-)  As I said in the beginning, it was an incredible cruise!  I can’t wait to take another Disney Cruise somewhere new….I hear they’re going to Hawaii….that may be next!  Oh and the wariness about being surrounded by kids during the cruise?  Disney’s kids clubs kept them busy enough that I hardly saw and wasn’t bothered too much after all…smiles…

Wait – we’re not done with Disney!  Next week…a week at Disneyworld with my parents.  Woohoo!!  :-)
More to follow…
Rene

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh wow, wish we could have gon on that one too, will have to come back soon and do it!

January 3, 2012 at 5:22 AM  

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