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Old 08-24-2009, 06:22 PM   #1
PoohJen
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Talking MAGICal Cruise - NOT to Tortola! Surprise Double Dip Aug 15, 2009

Magical Cruise NOT to Tortola!

Hello, hello, hello! Welcome to my trip report for the August 15-22 Eastern – turned Western – cruise on the Disney Magic! Fair warning – my trip reports tend to be long and detailed! So sit back and enjoy the ride!

The Cast: DH and myself – early 40s (okay, maybe mid-40s), DS16 and DS twins aged 12, and DMom 68ish. This was our 3d cruise on the Magic (second for Mom); Dtwins, Mom and I also enjoyed a quickie on the Wonder in Dec 2007 – that’s when we booked this Magical cruise!


A brief pre-trip report
Despite having booked this almost 2 years ago, we were packing, making embarkation t-shirts and door signs right down to the last minute! Doh!

Our trip began Thursday after work, when we drove 12 hours to Florida from Virginia. DH’s parents live near Cocoa, and we arrived at their house around 4 a.m. I got up a few hours later to check on DS12, who had some bladder issues in the last 24 hours. He now complained of a pain in his lower back, so off we went to the medical clinic. Early tests showed not a UTI, but more likely kidney concerns, so a CAT scan was ordered. The doc was great, but warned we probably wouldn’t be cruising! For 4 hours we waited for medical tests, etc. DS fought back tears about the cruise, I was disappointed, but more concerned about what could be wrong. Good news! Further diagnostics did after all just show a UTI, and the doc cleared DS to travel! DS burst out sobbing at the news, he was so relieved! And so were we! Divine intervention, for sure!


Note: I was disappointed but not devastated when we thought we wouldn’t be cruising, b/c I had trip insurance and knew we’d just rebook a cruise in the near future. Although I never needed the insurance, I sure am glad now that I had it, for peace of mind!

Tip: If you are travelling some distance, I can't emphasize enough coming in the day before you cruise - you just never know what might hold you up!


Later that afternoon, after Mom arrived at Orlando airport and we hit up Walmart for a manicure, we all headed to Downtown Disney to celebrate DH’s parents’ 50th wedding anniversary! (and…of course…some pre-cruise pin trading!).


We had dinner at the Irish restaurant, Raglan Road. A very Irish/English menu, tasty and filling. Pleasant surroundings and service. The bread pudding was to die for!


Next on to the Grand Floridian to pick up our pontoon ride. We stopped inside the busy atrium to enjoy the jazz band and a little bit of the pianist, before heading out to the marina. As a special anniversary treat for my inlaws, we had booked a “Fireworks Cruise” out of the Grand Floridian. It was a beautiful, clear evening, quite balmy. We cruised around the Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake, enjoying the calm evening and the majestic Disney resorts all lit up for the night. We had front row seats for the Electrical Water Pageant, a cute musical light parade. From there we cruised over toward Magic Kingdom, positioning ourselves for a perfect, private viewing of Cinderella’s Castle and the Wishes fireworks show. Wow! This little boat ride was really SUCH a treat, a unique, special experience. I recommend it highly! I know I was all smiles, and felt the sentimental Disney tears welling up already (okay, maybe I was tired from lack of sleep, or still so relieved over DS’s doctor visits this morning) – the first of many this trip!


Wishes Fireworks Cruise





Next - All Aboard!
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Old 08-24-2009, 06:31 PM   #2
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I am so excited to read your trip report!!!!

Wow! I am sure glad that your DS got cleared to come on our cruise! I hope that even though he was not feeling great that he had a great time.

We had a fabulous time despite our itinerary change...can't wait to read about how you feel it all turned out!

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Old 08-24-2009, 07:36 PM   #3
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Hi Jen,
We LOVED the double dip! And - thank you - DS was feeling fine the whole trip - they started him on an antibiotic right away - he was so funny - he made sure he never missed a dose!

I was sorry not to meet you and your family - especially as my husband and you and yours are teachers DH would've especially loved to chat! Thanks for all your work on your cruise website - it was a great resource and made waiting for the trip all the more fun!
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Old 08-24-2009, 09:41 PM   #4
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Day 1 – Embarkation Day!

Wake up everybody! We only got back to the house well after midnight, but it’s Cruise Day! I like to be there when the terminal opens, so that meant out-the-door by 9 am!!! 8:55, car is packed, everyone is walking out the door, and DFIL – bless his heart, as they say here in the South – asks if anyone wants him to make French toast. Um, no, thank you, really. Let’s Go!!!

There she is...first glimpse coming over the bridge! We arrive with perfect timing! Not long to wait, we were among the first in the terminal, no lines. That’s when we find out we will not be going to Tortola and St. Thomas because of tropical storms in the east. Instead, the current plan was for Castaway Cay on Sunday, Grand Cayman on Tuesday, Cozumel Wed, and either CC or Key West on Friday! Yes, I felt a twinge of disappointment at missing the excursions I had planned in the Virgin Islands (and, I’m not a fan of Cozumel), but hey, a double dip at Castaway Cay can’t be beat!

And, truly, I appreciated that they would revise the itinerary to avoid the storms. I would much rather have a sunny vacation than a stormy port!

Check in was a breeze. We each got our Castaway Club lanyards but…no pins…apparently they haven’t done that in a while.

Knowing this is quite a full ship, I still try to ask about an upgrade (from our two Cat 10s) with a straight face. All that was available was a Cat 3 (that wouldn’t fit the 6 of us) and, I’m pretty sure she said a Cat 1!??? I didn’t even ask about that….


My previous Magic cruises were in Cat 6 Verandah rooms. This time I tried to go more cheaply with inside rooms (well, actually – probably cost the same as my past Cat 6 cruises!). I was afraid I’d miss the verandah and, mostly, the natural light.

I did indeed miss the verandah – especially pulling in and out of ports – It was a long way up to Deck 9 from Deck 2! And with the darkness of the room, I definitely slept longer/later than I usually would. On the other hand, it saved us a few thousand dollars. Hmm, a tough call – to be honest, it wasn’t a big deal at all. In this economy, I’d save the $$$, but if you can swing it, a verandah is mighty nice!

But I digress...

The terminal began to fill quickly. I snapped a few photos, and watched Peter Pan while we waited.





The kids actually started pin trading with a few avid traders in the terminal! It was fun sharing lanyards as we all stood waiting to board…and then Mickey arrived to welcome us aboard!



Can you help but smile – and tear up – as they announce your name to welcome you into the gorgeous Magic atrium? I’m always in awe in those first few moments.




A nice CM walks us through the atrium, directing us to lunch options….no, sorry, can you please point me to the Excursion Desk? Oh yes, right this way…it should open in 10 minutes.

DH asks me whether we can wait and do this after lunch. …Long pause here for effect... Honey, there are 2400 people on this ship. The ports have all changed, they all need to book new excursions. No, we cannot do this after lunch.

Boy, was he glad DW was so smart! We were second in line for guest services, and a CM handed us a multiple page flyer with possible excursions. Like most everyone else, I had researched my original ports down to the finest detail…but not the new ports! I had no clue what was available, what was recommended, what was to be avoided. I had 2 minutes to decide. I saw the words “zip line” in Cozumel, and we were sold. Even DMom. But more on that on Cozumel day!

As it turned out, that excursion desk line was around the corner for the next two days. I know this because I made sure to point that out to DH every time we passed.

On our first cruise I chose Topsiders for that first lunch, wanting to sit outside and start our vacation in the sun! That was fun, but we’ve since changed our routine to the tropical ambience and – for DMom – air conditioning – of Parrot Cay. I believe Empress Room pointed out in his report that the food didn’t seem as plentiful or as elaborately presented – I noticed that too. Still, I found plenty of yummy items – jumbo shrimp and cold strawberry soup, my embarkation day staples!

I was careful not to overdo it – remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint, and there was lots more food to look forward to!

DS had a nice treat at lunch. Knowing my son collects Stitch pins, the gentleman (self-proclaimed Pin Trading Disorder man) we traded with in the terminal gifted him with a cool Stitch/Tower of Terror pin! What a MAGICal moment and we hadn’t even set sail yet! Thank you Pin Trading Disorder Man!

Is this trip report taking longer than the actual cruise??? Zzzz…time for bed…thanks for sharing this with me! More tomorrow night!
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MNSSHP '04, '05, '06 MVMCP '07 and a few All Star quickies DCL Magic Nov '04 Eastern Trip Report Magic Wstrn Dbl Dip Aug '06 Trip Report, Wonder Dec '07 Trip Report Magic Dble Dip Aug '09 Trip Report Wonder Feb '10 DCL Dream July '11, Aug '13

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Old 08-25-2009, 08:07 AM   #5
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Hiya! Can't wait for the rest of this trip report as we were on this cruise too!
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Old 08-25-2009, 04:27 PM   #6
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Hey PoohJen,

Another great TR to read!!!

Just wanted to let you know, we still have the door magnet, you made for us, for the August 2006 Double Dip cruise. In fact, my DW and I had the magnet on our door last September during our 5 day Double Dip cruised that turned into a single stop at CC due to Hurricane Hannah, LOL!!!
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Old 08-25-2009, 05:27 PM   #7
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Old 08-25-2009, 06:20 PM   #8
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Looking forward to more!
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Old 08-25-2009, 08:30 PM   #9
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Hiya Andy! lol re: door signs - we still have ours from 2004 hanging on our front door! We are such Disney geeks! And, I admit I recycled a few previous signs for this trip too! A 5 day Double Dip would be cool - I'm glad you got one stop in at least!

And now back to our trip report, already in progress...

So...where were we? Wow! Are we still in Parrot Cay, eating lunch and trading pins???

Time to move on! But first, a shout out to fellow DISser Hannosmom! I called her with our itinerary change, and she was kind enough to send me some info on Grand Cayman on my BlackBerry!

Headed topside for some sun by the Goofy Pool. The kids had their suits on and were ready to swim. It was pretty hot out, so Mom took a dip too. After all the travel and stress and running around, I sat back on a lounge and began to work on my cruise goal: relaxation! Beauty and the Beast was just starting up, everyone all around was in a festive mood – the Cruise had begun!

Early on embarkation day is a great time to use the pools, as they are not too crowded yet, and there are plenty of lounge chairs to be had!

Mom and I checked out our rooms at 2:30 – connecting Category 10s – 2071 and 2073, just off midship toward aft, port side. This turned out to be a great location – EXCEPT – you should know that 2071 was right off Ocean Quest, and that could get VERY noisy through the walls. Fortunately, Mom was so tired every night that the noise never bothered her – she fell asleep quickly. I’d be hesitant to book that room again though – the noise would bother me (we didn’t hear it in 2073!).

Our Castaway Club presents were waiting for us on our beds - a very nice black and red beach bag, with a couple of water bottles, mesh bag and notebook/pen - very handy. The bag was good quality and nice looking - more substantial than the white cloth bag from a few years back. Lots of black and red Castaway Club bags could be seen at Castaway Cay and in the ports this week! Isn't it so much fun to have presents waiting for you! I hadn't checked out what the gift was ahead of time, and so was nicely surprised!

Our room steward was Falcon from the Philippines. He was so wonderful – ALWAYS smiling, so cheerful and friendly! We had some maintenance issues early on and he bent over backwards to have them timely sorted out. I saw him a lot this week and he was always on the go, working so hard!

I enjoyed the quiet solitude of the fresh room and worked on some door signs I hadn’t finished (see! I told you I was doing everything last minute!), and promptly decorated our doors. The luggage came in pieces fairly quickly and I unpacked up to the muster drill.

Here are a few pics of our door signs; I had lots of signs, so switched them out thru the week and had special signs for Castaway Cay and Pirate Night!






Ooh, ooh…did I tell you about our Embarkation T-shirts? We each had yellow T-shirts and DH and the boys also wore tropical Mickey button down shirts over those. Here’s the design I used – I believe I got the base design from DISser MilliePie’s photobucket site – check out her great designs on the Cruise Magnet thread!




The boys all made it down in time for the muster drill. DCL does this well – very efficient, nice that it’s on Deck 4. On our first cruise it was in a dining room and was very noisy and disorganized – smooth sailing ever since. Quick and painless!

Everyone head up to the sail away party (I had managed to miss the DISmeet – time got away!)(Hi fellow Tortola Treasure Seekers!). But first, I just had to unpack a little more. It happens every time…I start to unpack and can’t stop and before I know it, I’ve missed most of the sail away party! Yup! Happened again! Doh! I run up to deck 9 with DMom, the party is in full swing, and I can’t find my boys anywhere (despite our bright “Here I Am, Mom!” yellow embarkation day t-shirts!). Mom and I try to scope out a place to watch on deck 10, DH comes by with the video cam.


Tisa was the head cheerleader for this trip, full of energy and great attitude all week long!






I would’ve been interested in a Bon Voyage fruity frozen drink, but they were looking pretty melted down by the time I joined the party! Soon the ship’s horn blew….When you wish upon a star…Tears….I tried to capture it on my cell phone voice recorder, but Mom was chatty with excitement. Sigh. I’ll have to go back and try again. All of a sudden we are moving out...I ran to the other side of the ship to catch site of the Waving Mickey Hands. Sniff. Tears again!

To any CMs: it means so much to us when you wave with your giant Mickey Hands – Thank You for your enthusiasm!!!!

Dinner that evening was in Parrot Cay. I love – and always request – the PLAPLAP rotation (Parrot Cay – Lumiere’s – Animator’s Palate), b/c it puts us in Lumiere’s for formal night and Parrot Cay for tropical Pirate Night. However, due to our revised itinerary, nights and restaurants got shifted around. No matter – it was all good!

Our friendly servers were Ali from Turkey and Bulelani from South Africa. Always friendly and very professional, and with a smile and a trick for the kids.



Since we live such hectic lives, and almost never eat dinner together at home (at least, not sitting down!), our rule on the cruise is that we eat dinner together every night and then take in a show. Otherwise, the kids would spend all their waking moments in the clubs or on the sports deck!

So, after dinner we went to the All Aboard show. I’m not one for variety shows, but on our last Magic cruise we enjoyed the opening night show so much, we’ve made sure to give all the variety shows a try ever since!

Tonight we had the Comedy and Juggling of Randy Cabral – very entertaining – and the musical comedy of John Charles. He was very talented, but I think his music/humor was a bit lost on the younger generation; I think he should’ve been more universal for that opening show. Both had adult shows later in the cruise, but alas – I was always too tired to stay up late!

The kids were anxious to play, er, hang in their respective clubs for the night. DH and I fell asleep very early…so tired…DS16 managed to miss curfew on the very first night!!!! Hmmmm. He was careful not to do that again!





Tomorrow: A Day at Sea? Nope! Castaway Cay!!!
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My laughing place... Disneyland-1971, 76 Carib Beach'90 Dixie Landings/POR - '95, '04, '05, '06 SSR '07, AP 03-04
MNSSHP '04, '05, '06 MVMCP '07 and a few All Star quickies DCL Magic Nov '04 Eastern Trip Report Magic Wstrn Dbl Dip Aug '06 Trip Report, Wonder Dec '07 Trip Report Magic Dble Dip Aug '09 Trip Report Wonder Feb '10 DCL Dream July '11, Aug '13

Last edited by PoohJen; 08-25-2009 at 08:56 PM.
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Old 08-26-2009, 03:31 PM   #10
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I saw your door! We were in 2512 (Forward opposite side of yours). As I was making my way to the laundry facilities to iron some shirts, I noticed some doors decorated, and then I saw yours and was impressed that you took the time to do that. Very nice! I must have passed it a few times as I was checking on my one son in Ocean Quest during various times thru out the cruise. Did you have any issues with the "kids" taking the signs? We lost our DVC one 2X - appaerantly the "kids" thought it was funny to steal them and put them on the door of the DVC offices......

Looking forward to more trip reports - nice to relive the cruise again. Still not ready for this work thing.
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Old 08-26-2009, 03:52 PM   #11
PoohJen
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Originally Posted by JFHeeren View Post
I saw your door! Did you have any issues with the "kids" taking the signs? We lost our DVC one 2X - appaerantly the "kids" thought it was funny to steal them and put them on the door of the DVC offices......

Looking forward to more trip reports - nice to relive the cruise again. Still not ready for this work thing.
Thanks! We really love our door signs. I have so much fun making them...I don't often get to play with scissors and glue sticks these days! My mom and family get a big kick out of them - a neat little surprise on the cruise.

I'm glad our signs weren't taken; however, two of them were "vandalized" with some minor graffiti. At least the markings weren't nasty, but still...it was thoughtless of the kid.

We had a couple of run ins/observations of 'impolite' kids...really a shame, they give all the other kids a bad rap! Overall, given the large number of kids (I'm talking 'tweens and teens, of course), the majority were great and just enjoyed what the ship had to offer, without looking for trouble.

and...I hear ya on the work thing!
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MNSSHP '04, '05, '06 MVMCP '07 and a few All Star quickies DCL Magic Nov '04 Eastern Trip Report Magic Wstrn Dbl Dip Aug '06 Trip Report, Wonder Dec '07 Trip Report Magic Dble Dip Aug '09 Trip Report Wonder Feb '10 DCL Dream July '11, Aug '13
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Old 08-26-2009, 04:31 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by PoohJen View Post
[COLOR="DarkOrchid"][COLOR="Green"]
[COLOR="Navy"]
Everyone head up to the sail away party (I had managed to miss the DISmeet – time got away!)(Hi fellow Tortola Treasure Seekers!).
Jen, I missed the DISmeet too! LOL - that's probably why we didn't get a chance to meet til chatting in the elevator on debarkation day!!!There were so many people from the board that I missed meeting...after all the planning, the trip went by so fast....too fast to meet everyone and do everything that we wanted...I think I need a 10 day cruise!!


Soon the ship’s horn blew….When you wish upon a star…Tears….I tried to capture it on my cell phone voice recorder, but Mom was chatty with excitement. Sigh. I’ll have to go back and try again. All of a sudden we are moving out...I ran to the other side of the ship to catch site of the Waving Mickey Hands. Sniff. Tears again! Giving away our FE gift here but - we included the ship's horn on the CDs of Disney music we made and gave out as our FE. Let me know if you would like a copy of the CD





Tomorrow: A Day at Sea? Nope! Castaway Cay!!!
Great trip report!! I can't wait to read the next installment!!
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Old 08-26-2009, 05:05 PM   #13
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Hello there!! Love your trip report so far!! We were on the Magic in June and Ali from Turkey was one of our servers too!! I was so excited when I saw his picture in your report! We really liked him a lot and he kept the kids in stitches with his magic tricks!!

Waiting for more...
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Old 08-26-2009, 10:17 PM   #14
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Day at Sea? No -Castaway Cay!!!

Castaway Cay – Take 1

One of the benefits of the revised itinerary was a double dip on Castaway Cay! Although I really like the extra day at sea on the Eastern, I’d gladly trade it for an extra day at Castaway Cay!

Morning came quickly…but is it really morning? Who can tell…it’s so dark in here! Heard Mom rise and go to breakfast at 7:30; I put the bridge view on the television and rested some more. The twins, excited about being allowed to go to Topsiders on their own, rushed up to breakfast. DH and I followed a little later, but the line to Topsiders was soooo long, we opted for fruit and pastry at Goofy’s Galley. We found Mom enjoying tea and a book at an outside table and joined her with our light breakfast.

There was a lot of construction going on at Castaway Cay. On the opposite side of the pier, they were making preparations for docking the 2011 ships. There were other areas on the island, as well, that Disney seemed to be building up/expanding. One of the CMs said they currently use only about 10% of the island.

Teethbrushing and sunblock for everyone, and then we head onto Castaway Cay. Towels are handed to everyone outside, and water is there for sale. You know, we had a rolling cooler with us, unused all week as we put our Gatorades and waters in the fridge – never touched them! We didn’t even bother to bring beer, etc. on the ship this year, because we never drink them – we’re always so full!

View from the ship...By the way...this was my fifth visit to Castaway Cay...but the first time the ship was docked there bow first!




DS16 went directly to the Teen Beach, while the rest of us moved onto the family beach, where we set up camp on some lounges behind the Conched Out Bar, near two hammocks. The two hammocks that were taken. For the whole day. With not a soul using them. ALL DAY until late in the afternoon.

DCL, I’ve said it every time…PLEASE post signs by the hammocks to the effect of “If there’s nobody in it, please enjoy the hammock! Any items left in a hammock will be removed. Have a Magical day!”

Hey, I’m just saying. There are very few hammocks to go around for 2000 passengers; if you take one, enjoy it! Sleep in it as long as you want. But don’t use it as a towel rack for 6 hours, depriving others of a relaxing hammock siesta on a tropical beach.

Okay, off my soap box!

The water at the family beach was too shallow, so the kid’s play apparatus in the water was closed. This was my 5th visit to CC, and the second time the play area was closed due to shallow water. So folks, just know this can happen!

With the play area closed, Sports Twin went to Grouper Pavilion to meet up with Ocean Quest, while Swim Twin went snorkeling with DH. Mom spent quality time with her float out on the water, while I just chilled in my lounge.
When the snorkel dudes came back, we grabbed lunch at Cookie’s BBQ. I snacked, knowing we would also be checking out the fare at Serenity Bay in a while. I had some spice cake and a BBQ rib. And, of course, some soft serve Cookie Dough ice cream, the first of many!

Hey! One thing I noticed this year is that the Diet Coke and the Diet Sprite (Sprite Zero) both tasted good all week! In the past…not so much.

A crowded family beach...



After lunch Mom and I rented bikes and head toward the bike paths. Along the way we saw Sports Twin playing sand soccer – man, it was hot out! I was impressed with the kids who were out there playing! Still, I sent Sports Twin back to our lounges to meet up with DH for some lunch and water time. (No “wait til you digest!” for this family!)

Onto the bike paths. We stop at every water cooler!

Tip: Renting bikes is a fun way to see more of the island!



We rode past tropical trees and shrubs, to a watch tower where you can see the Magic off in the distance, and then to a small deck overlooking the rugged seaside and tropical blue waters.




Next we stop at Serenity Bay for some lunch. Try lunch there sometime! It’s so peaceful and quiet – unrushed, no crowds. There’s usually something special on the menu there that they don’t have at Cookies.

I had a cheeseburger – so good! They had a fixin's station with bar-b-que sauce mixed with pineapples – wonderful! And, of course, a cookie-dough soft serve for the road.

Serenity Bay....



A short ride back, then a little more time on the family beach before gathering DS16 and head back to the ship. DS16 enjoyed Teen Beach and Grouper’s (game) Pavilion, playing beach volleyball, pool, ping pong.

Back on board, I head up to the spa locker room to shower, while the boys showered in our stateroom. I just LOVE the showers there, particularly after a sandy, wind-blown and sea salt day on the beach! Still, I noticed that the water pressure in the stateroom was excellent this year – I don’t remember that from the past. I didn’t bother to go use the spa shower the rest of the week – the cabin’s shower was fine!

The twins were loving Ocean Quest – we were back on board in time for them to play their favorite – Dodge Ball – up on the Sports Deck, while DS16 made his way to the Stack to look for pals.

Because of the itinerary change, we did not have Formal Night tonight. Instead, our dinner at Lumiere’s was the Lumiere’s menu. We were shown to our table – EXCELLENT! We had a table for six right by the window, beautiful sea views for all! Table 34 – highly recommended! This was particularly exciting for me because on my last TWO cruises, I had the SAME table assignment, and it was pretty bad (tight and backed into a corner, you felt separated from everything going on in the dining rooms). Table 34, on the other hand, had the great window spot in Lumiere’s, a corner location in Animator’s Palate that had good views of the wall screens, and Parrot Cay’s location was quiet without feeling distanced from the room’s activity. To be honest, on my last two cruises we linked reservations with other DISsers…I didn’t this time, just to avoid getting that same table again – you never know!

Bed time (here, not on the ship!) – more tomorrow: G Force review and a day at sea!
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Last edited by PoohJen; 09-05-2009 at 10:17 AM.
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Old 08-27-2009, 03:29 AM   #15
LindaBabe


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Let them try to get me out - heheh
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Upstate NY transplanted to NW Georgia
Posts: 10,285

Thanks for writing! I'm enjoying your cruise
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