In February we lost our sweet dog, I ran a marathon and the highlight of our month was a Disney Cruise. It was nothing short of amazing. I took lots of pictures...with my phone. I can't believe I didn't take my camera for this big trip, but I didn't....so we'll have to bare with my grainy I-phone pictures as documentation of our super, fun time.
So here are the details. We sailed on the Disney Dream out of Port Canaveral, Florida. It was overcast when we got on the boat, but the sun was shining the next morning. This picture was taken from our Balcony and that is another cruise line across the bay that was heading out as well.
Our sail was 4 days and made two stops. From the second we embarked the ship Disney did not disappoint. It was beautiful. It was clean. It was orderly and never felt over-crowded. Since we flew to Florida, we did not have our bags with us. This is a neat feature Disney has, whether you are traveling to the Park or going on a Disney Cruise, you can choose Disney' Magical Express for your transfer. With this service, they take your bags from the plane an deliver them to your room and you never have to make a stop at baggage claim. However, this can take a few hours. Our bags didn't arrive at our room until 5 PM. Soooo...if you're kids are busting at the seams to go swimming the minute they see a pool...pack your swimsuits in your carry-on.
We had lunch, familiarized ourselves with the boat, attended our safety meeting and toured the Oceaneer's Lab. This is the Kid's Club that the boys virtually lived in our entire cruise. The staff is amazing and Ryder still talks about how much he misses them!
We found our room and were very satisfied with the size of the room! We had cruised with a different cruise line a few years back and our room wasn't nearly as large. There was a Queen size bed and a sitting area. The couch in the sitting area folds out into a full size bed and bunk bed folds down from above. Another neat feature is that the shower is separate from the toilet. Doesn't sound like a lot, but when you're the only girl in the family and you have two boys ages 5 and 3...it's nice. The boys loved the balcony and I loved it too. It was enclosed so that I didn't worry about them falling from the balcony. I did not bring a hairdryer and this is something I would bring when we go again. There is a hairdryer in the room, but it is not very powerful. All of the shampoo, conditioner and shower gels were of high quality. I brought my own toiletries, but in hindsight I did not need to.
We dined the first night at the Royal Palace. When we arrived at our table the boys had plastic cups, with lids and their names written on the lid. There are colors and coloring pages spaced out along the entire table. The waiters are dressed like a Prince. The menu was good for adults and kids. Its a little loud inside the restaurant which is good...it masked any meltdowns my children had from starting our travels in Dallas at 4:30 a.m. The other dining rooms on the boat included: Preludes, Enchanted Garden and the Animator's Palate. We only experienced the Enchanted Garden outside of the Royal Palace. Our other two nights we dined at the Adult only restaurants: Remy and Palo. Both are delicious.
Every evening there is Theatrical show. By far my favorite was the Golden Mickey's. The Golden Mickeys is an awards show in which Disney movie Characters are nominated in several categories, including heroism and romance. It was put on the first night of the cruise. Amazing. Matt and I felt like we were on a date, because the boys insisted on staying at the Oceaneer's Lab instead of attending the show.
Our first port was in Nassau, Bahamas. We debarked the boat and took a catamaran ride to Blue Lagoon Island.
This was the view from the back of the boat. It is about a 20 minute ride and once there you can do a Dolphin encounter, a Dolphin swim or just spend the day at the Beach. We decided to do the Dolphin encounter. It was definitely worth it. The water was cold (the last week in February) and the boys didn't like water splashed in their face (by the dolphin), but everything else about the encounter was so much fun! The dolphin, Andy, performed tons of tricks. He splashed, he gave kisses, he let us feed him and pet his belly. We felt his teeth and saw just how fast dolphins can swim.
Afterwards, we let the boys play on the white sand beaches. It was Rustin's first time to a beach and he LOVED it.
We got back to the boat in time to spend some time at the Mickey Pool and Handy Helper slide before dinner. The boys went down the slide again and again and never grew tired. Its moderate in height but the kids didn't come down real fast. There was also a splash pad for toddlers and a large slide for older kids called the Aqua-duck.
The next morning we made our second stop at Disney's Castaway Cay Beach. As we disembarked the boat, characters lined the boardwalk to the beach. Have your autograph books ready!
The beach is perfect. We didn't bring any beach toys, but there is a shop at the entrance to the Beach that had buckets, shovels, sunscreen, sunglasses, beach towels...basically everything you need for the beach. The kids club disembarks the boat too. They open up a secure area on the island, called Scuttles Cove, where the kids can stay if they don't want to play on the beach. They even feed the kids lunch. I didn't think we'd take advantage of the Scuttles Cove feature because I assumed the boys would be having too much fun on the beach. However, they both decided to go spend an hour or so there and we were able to take a nap in a hammock. We ended the night watching a firework show from the top deck of the boat...alone again. The boys decided to attend Pluto's Pajama party while we watched the fireworks. They now have Pluto Pillow cases that they sleep on every night.
The boys became very, very comfortable with the girls in the Oceaneer's Lab...the girls even made the boys honorary counselor's for the week. Ryder was so proud of his name badge and wore it around the entire ship. The last night of our trip, I found the Magical Moments certificate hanging from our door. It brought tears to my eyes to realize what a magical time these boys were having on such a short trip!
Our last day was spent at Sea and there was plenty to do for the day. Catch a Disney movie in the Buena Vista Theater, Dance with Pluto, see the Princesses, Swim, Eat...the options are endless. The characters are out all day on the boat...Captain Mickey was a huge hit with this boy!
And after four days of non-stop fun....