OUR LIFE IN 3D

The Home of Daddy's Day Dare! ~ I am just trying to stay above water

We Don’t Celebrate Valentine’s At Our House, part IV

Well it is true after all, we do not celebrate Valentine’s at our house. This year, in an effort to go some place warm(er), we decided to try our first cruise over Valentine’s Day. It was a Disney Cruise leaving out of Port Canaveral, FL.

Now, we have never gone on a cruise, for various reasons, preferences really. So we were excited to get away, do some exploring and be catered to by the good folks at Disney.

Photo Courtesy of Disney Cruise. Disney. go

Photo Courtesy of Disney Cruise.Disney.go

We cruised on the newly refurbished Disney Dream. This was a huge ship! And, as the Cruise Director pointed out, the Lexus sitting in the cruise destinations in a dock full Fords. It really was a big, bright, impressive looking ship. To give you an idea, the ship boasted of over 4000 passengers and a crew of over 1500 below.

Inside of our state room

Inside of our state-room

Our room slept 4 fairly comfortably. In the picture above, see the rectangle in the ceiling on the right side; touching the blue and white drape? That was a bed that mysteriously dropped out of nowhere while we were at dinner. Seriously, we couldn’t figure out how to lower it.

The ship did not have all the rides of a Disney World but it did have a pretty fun water roller coaster..the AquaDuck..

Photo Courtesy of Disney Cruise. Disney. go

Photo Courtesy of Disney Cruise.Disney.go

This ride looked so intriguing that we actually booked our board time as early as possible just so we could ride it as often as possible before the other shipmates boarded on arrival day. The water may have been cold but it was fun!

aqua-duck

Because this idea was based loosely around a 4 Day weekend from school for our girls we only booked the 3 night journey. Our destinations included the Bahamas and then over to Disney’s very own island,  Castaway Cay.

Photo Courtesy of Disney Cruise. Disney. go

Photo Courtesy of Disney Cruise. Disney. go

A month ago we booked a catamaran sailboat excursion to go out snorkeling at the Bahamas but when we got there both the air and water temperature were too cold to go swimming and sailing in a big Cat. I knew the children would be miserable in the cold breeze. Too bad for us, we still had to pay the $200 reservations anyway.

The next day at Castaway Cay was a bit warmer so we did go ashore there. Castaway Cay was a neat little island. A Disney amusement site in its own right. There is lots of fun to be had there..

UNLESS……. it gets a little breezy (who ever heard of an island without a wee bit of a coastal breeze?) Well the coastal breeze that day negated any and all water sports.. sailing, banana boats (our reservation), jet ski’s, you name it. All cancelled. After living on the coast it makes me wonder how often these ‘attractions’ are actually open? When is it not breezy on the coast?

Breakfast as we dock at Castaway Cay

Breakfast as we dock at Castaway Cay

For months I had been looking forward to doing some snorkeling there too. Well, too bad for me, about lunchtime the powers-that-be decided it was a bit too choppy to go snorkeling (with a life vest) too. Liability you know. The 20 lifeguards there must not have been enough of a safe guard.

The Disney Dream ship itself had plenty to offer the kids though. They never left the ship when we docked at the Bahamas and Dylan was quick to return there on our day at Castaway Cay.

There were plenty of fun things including the Candy Shop that was actually a fancy ice cream parlor.

dream-ice-cream-car

And, of course, the Disney Brand, all the Disney Princesses as well as Mickey and the gang were on hand.

disney-princess-meet-and-greet

Skylar wasn’t as into the Disney princesses this trip (all she wanted to do was hang out in the pool) but Dylan did meet them all and gather a few more of their autographs too.

my southern belle

my southern Belle

But it was the Caribbean after all and you knew, eventually you would see some Piracy!

pirate-night

And it was Disney itself this time!

And it came in the form of their ship photographers.

When we visited Disney World we always opted for the photograph option there where all the Disney photographers (located everywhere) take your picture and then you simply download the ones you want for a fee paid upfront.

On the Disney Dream they have some photographers too but the photo packages were quite different.

They assembled all your photos that they took, in various shapes and sizes, in hard copies the last day there. Then you could either buy a pricey photo package or photos a la carte.

Well I have YOU to post pictures for as well as send lots of pics of our kids to family and friends. So I asked if I could get the photos on a USB drive or something digital.

And…..for $149….. for 10 pictures (!!!) they said I could

If I wanted 15 pictures the price went to $199. Ouch!

But what are you going to do when you want to take some memories like this home?

Disney Gold

Disney Gold Doubloons!

and this

Another $15 doubloon

Another $15 doubloon… that I bought for you

They drove a hard bargain matey. I barely left with the shirt on me back!

Otherwise, we saw three shows and they all were really good. Like the magical showBelieve

Photo Courtesy of Disney Cruise. Disney. go

Photo Courtesy of Disney Cruise. Disney. go

as well as the on the pool deck presentation of Mickey’s Pirates of the Caribbean

pirate-night-show

...where all the photographers put on a costume and a show.

The cuisine was up to Disney standards but also held up to cruise food reputations.

We both got food poisoning on separate days. One of us got it so violently ill Saturday night that we had to call housekeeping at 4:30am to come clean up our bathroom.

Which raised another point of contention.

First its a ship. Right? Some people are going to get sea sick. It’s also a cruise ship which I understand, have reputations for serving food outside of normal food handling guidelines, given the mass production.Food poisoning is not unheard of people tell me.

Second, if people are going to get sick why do they only carry nothing more than Pepto Bismol!

It lasts one hour!

The cruise medical staff said they could hand out as much Pepto Bismol to us as we wanted but for anything else we would need to visit the ship doctor.

Which was quickly followed up with a statement, “and probably quarantined.”

Can I say WTF here?

Its true. I heard this at least twice.

Not only do they not carry a travel staple like Imodium on board but the doctors play Nazi’s when it comes to you telling someone you are sick.

Sorry. I was just amazed at how the medical staff were so, ahhh, unDisney.

Overall, I believe our girls had a really great time. Dylan explored and met some more of her favorite Princesses while Skylar sat in the pool and watched Disney movies on the mega screen above the pool deck.

As for me, that is the last cruise I will ever go on. I saw this as one of the single largest wastes of money in my life, from a value standpoint. Too many rules, too many people, and lines, too many deadlines, too many precautions.

When I go on vacation I just want to be able to put my feet in the sand and relax; without wondering how soon everyone needs to be back on the ship.

As for Disney World vs. a Disney Cruise vacation, this is a no-brainer.

Disney World has it down to a science in hospitality and new levels of vacationing standards that others can only aspire to. Yes, I am a big fan! And, on a similar night package, Disney World is probably cheaper than a Disney Cruise too. (Don’t get me started on the mandatory $12 per person per day ‘Gratuity‘ fee!)

I am sorry this vacation post is not more upbeat like I normally try to do. My appetite is not the only thing I haven’t got back yet it appears.

I will do better next time knuckleheads.

Have a great weekend…

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19 thoughts on “We Don’t Celebrate Valentine’s At Our House, part IV

  1. Wow! I feel your pain, but thankfully not your sickness. It’s hard to believe having such a bad time, while I am sure expectations were high about having a great time…then the wasted money to boot. I guess your only consolation was that the Dylan and Skylar had a good time. When i go on vacation, especially to places such as this, I always build up expectations that are too high to actually reach. So to expect a high extreme and get hit with a low extreme would really tick me off for some time after the trip was over……but that’s just me : ) ….I can say, I am ready for Curacao next year or any other island…….but not cold ones : )
    Nice photos though. Tell the girls i miss them, at least I will now be able to see them more often………..

    • Yes it is doing the same to me. And we want to start planning another vacation but this one has left us with a little more debt than we expected to take care of first. Thanks for looking in John. See you at the b day party real soon!

  2. Sorry the experience wasn’t better for you, but I’m sure your kids felt it was totally worth it.

  3. They did love it and that was what it was all about. At the end of the cruise we were asked to fill out a survey on our experience and one of the last questions was do you think you will return to a Disney Cruise in the next 5 years. I marked No. My oldest saw it and ran off crying to tell mom (sigh) Thanks for stopping by Betsy! I hope you are doing well!

  4. You thought the pirates were just a theme?
    hehehe.

  5. I, matey! I was so surprised to see some unDisney actions here. I want a Do Over. I hope you are doing well Ms. Aurora, you scalawag! Thanks for dropping by….

  6. It looks like many fun moments to cherish even though the trip wasn’t as fun as you expected and invested. I agree, that’s severe carelessness to not have proper medical facilities on board!

    • Hi Ms. MithaI! How is school going? Yes sorry this post was such a downer. I think I was venting more then anything. The kids had a great time so that was the main thing. And it was a nice escape out of town. I hope you are doing great! As always thanks for dropping by. Have a great week!

  7. We’ve never been on a cruise and it looks like it might be awhile before we book our first one! Agree with you, though, on the feet-in-the-sand getaways – now crowds and no rushing. Cheers, Andy!

  8. Yes Tom, I never had either (gone on a cruise) and I don’t think I will ever again. Much like your adventures, I enjoy relaxing, unplugging and no time tables and then going out and meeting the locals (the local spots) to get a feel for the culture and the flavor of the island and people. This was really none of that. The closest I got to what you do on your blog was knocking back some favorite tequila at the Adults Pool when the kids were up showering and changing (mom knew I needed something) ~ Thanks for dropping by Tom and saying hello. We are starting to look at our next vacation. Do you have any kid friendly destinations you can recommend from your Caribbean travels? She wants to do Belize. Some one else recommended Puerto Rico. I still would like to get back to Curacao.The kids have 6 months left on their Passports so we need to find something. Ciao!

  9. I’m not much of a cruiser either… totally get it. I’d rather get to know a place!

  10. Amen! I dont know if you saw my note to Tom above but the must escape I found was slipping into the adult pool area and finding some long lost fav tequila. ~ I hope you are doing great Laura! Always great to hear from you. Thanks for dropping by!

  11. Andy, you just made me realize how a supposedly great experience can turn out the opposite. A good consolation at least, is that the girls enjoyed the trip.

    Whenever I go to a new place, I always try to stay away from the group as much as possible and explore the place by myself or with a few friends from the pack instead of going where everyone is going. So I think I would not enjoy a cruise trip myself.

    And if I may share, we were fortunate enough to have been warned earlier to never get anyone took a picture of us during our HK trip. That doesn’t looked too friendly, of course but we have to do it to save ourselves later. Lol! We had to decline everytime someone from the tour company approach us to take a group picture whatsoever, in the friendliest way we can. We have our own cameras that we can make use of, so why not. Paying $80 for a single photo is downright robbery—making piracy legit.

    I hope you’ll recover soon! 🙂

    PS. I am using Twitter because for some reason I can’t comment using my WP account.

  12. I did walk off the ship and try to explore downtown Nassau in the Bahamas a bit, but it was all shops and started to look scary the further off the path I got so I headed back.

    that was a good tip you received on the pictures. In hindsight a lot of teh pics they took (of lil D with the princesses I took too. But there were some great individual pics, group pics like that one of me with the girls I felt bad to let them get away (I take such horrible pics that when a good one happens I grab it!)

    Yes I have recovered and starting to fantasize about our next trip. ~ I like your Twitter page. I don’t have one of I would hook up with you there. Some of my favorite business books (Leadership books really) are Daniel Goleman’s Primal Leadership, the standard Kenneth Blanchard
    , The One Minute Manager and one I think you might like the most is Jack Groppel’s The Corporate Athlete

    Thanks for dropping by Maricel! I hope you are doing great!

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