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Old 12-31-2012, 12:14 PM   #76
jenseib
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Fabulous day.
I love all your photos. I sure wish we made a point to get more taken on our Dream cruise.
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Old 01-01-2013, 08:09 AM   #77
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Lovely photos another fab day
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Old 01-02-2013, 08:07 AM   #78
Linda67
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Great photos, looks like you got plenty of time with the characters on this cruise
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Old 01-03-2013, 12:03 PM   #79
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Day 7

We had set the wake up call for 7:30. Our excursion did not meet until 11:00 at the pier, but as Grand Cayman is a tender port, we figured we would leave ourselves plenty of time. We got up and ready and packed everything that we needed for the day before heading down to breakfast. Our server had told us the night before that she would be working at Parrot Cay that morning so we decided to head there. We both had some fruit to start of with and I was delighted that they had Lychees, even if it was only the tinned variety. I sprinkled some nuts on my fruit and Graham had some yoghurt with his. We both had coffee. Graham had some Orange Juice and I had Apple Juice and some Chocolate Milk. We both went back for some cooked food. Graham had Bacon, Scrambled Eggs, Sausages and Mushrooms. I had some Breakfast Potatoes, Sausages, Mushrooms and an Omelet. Once we had finished our breakfast, we quickly went back to our cabin to pick up our stuff and then went to the Buena Vista Theater to get our tender tickets.

Grand Cayman is a tender port. I have never been keen on tendering. I am also not overly keen on Grand Cayman. When we were there in 2009, the tendering process was complete and utter chaos and the tenders were essentially floating platforms. So I was not that excited about the day ahead. I was positively surprised though. When we arrived at the Buena Vista Theater, they asked if our whole party was present and checked our photo ID and Key to the World Card. We were then sent to the second entrance to the Buena Vista Theater, where we were then directed to a row. We sat down and had to wait maybe 10 minutes or so until they asked three rows including ours to stand. We were then escorted down to deck 1. They swiped our Key to the World card and then it was time to get on the tender. To my immense delight, they now have proper boats. They were quite a good size as well and much more stable. It took us only about 5 minutes to get from the Magic to the port. This was entirely painless. We still had about 90 minutes until we had to meet for our excursion. I checked with one of the cast members that was milling around where we would have to go to meet for our excursion. He pointed me to a table a short distance away. We decided to have a look around the little shopping area by the port. There was nothing that caught our attention and most of it was just standard tourist fare. We ventured out of the port area to have a look at the town, but there was nothing there that interested us either. We did however spot an area where we would get a decent view of the ship and I was hoping to get some photos. This was the area where the excursion buses were parked and we were soon moved over as they were worried that we would get run over by a bus. I still managed to get a couple of photos near the entrance though.







We decided to head back to the port area and had a wander through a little craft market that they had set up, but again there was nothing that really caught my attention. We decided to sit down in the shade near where our meeting point for the excursion was. It was incredibly hot and I did not quite trust the biodegradable sunscreen that I had brought this time. There was a bar not far away and I was bemused that they seemed to be doing a lot of business as it was still only about 10:30. A little while later, two cast members appeared and set up for our excursion. Once they had sorted themselves out, they asked one person from each party to come forward with the excursion tickets and photo ID for everybody in their party. We were then issued with a character sticker. This was all quick and painless as it was such a small group. We were asked to sit down again. We were still missing two families and were waiting for the representative from the tour operator. The representative from the tour operator showed up shortly afterwards and one of the missing families pretty much straight after this. The last family never turned up. Graham ended up as "honourary tour guide". Our tour guide had dropped her wooden sign with the tour operator logo and Graham had picked it up. She then asked him to hold this while she sorted out the paperwork with the cast members. Once this was all done, she escorted us to the bus where she introduced us to the driver and then said goodbye to us.

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Old 01-03-2013, 12:09 PM   #80
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Once we were all settled down, our driver took us through the town centre of Georgetown. He pointed out shops that were charging in US Dollars rather than in Cayman Dollars. The Cayman Dollar is worth more than the US Dollar, but a number of shops that are aimed at the tourist and especially the cruise trade use the US Dollar. I have to say that this left me cold as I do not go on a cruise to shop. Our driver also pointed out various landmarks including the Governor's Residence on our way to the boat dock. Once we arrived there, we walked a few steps to the boat. We were introduced to our captain and the naturalist and then we cast off. We did not have to go very far to a clearing in the Mangrove Forest where we stopped. There are three types of Mangrove on Grand Cayman: Red Mangrove, Black Mangrove and White Mangrove. What we saw for the most part was the Red Mangrove as this grows closest to the edge. We learned how the different type of Mangrove deal with the salt in the water, what their role in the ecosystem is and how they reproduce. She also pointed out the wildlife including a rather regal looking Green Iguana. We told her the story of the Iguana that we ended up sharing the snorkelling lagoon with on our last visit to Grand Cayman. After a little while, we moved on to another area of Mangrove. There we were introduced to Upside Down Jelly Fish. We were encouraged to touch them, but I passed. We then moved on to an area where Green Iguanas like to hang out. On the way, our naturalist pointed out a gap in the Red Mangrove. Through the gap, we could see some Black Mangrove. The area where the Iguanas can be found is also where some rather nice mansions are. I am not sure what the owners think about their neighbours. After we had spent a while looking at the Iguanas, we headed back to the boat dock.





























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Old 01-03-2013, 12:13 PM   #81
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We got back on the bus and our driver announced that our next stop would be Hell. I was rather excited by this announcement. We had stopped briefly at Hell on our way back from our excursion in 2009 and I had been fascinated by the black lime stone formations. Unfortunately I did not have my camera with me that day. So I was glad that I got a second chance. Hell is a bit of a tourist trap with two viewing platforms, a picnic area and a hell-themed post office with a gift shop. Still, the lime stone formations are impressive and have a certain stark beauty. I had not realized that there are two viewing areas there. When we got off the bus and headed for the viewing platform closest to it, I thought that this did not look like I remembered it. I still liked what I saw though. When we were finished enjoying the view and I had taken as many photos as I had wanted, we walked towards the post office and spotted the viewing platform that we had visited in 2009 and the view from there was precisely how I remembered it. We spent a few minutes there to enjoy the view and I took more photos before we headed over to the gift shop. Neither of us bought anything and we soon headed back to the bus.

































When everybody was back on the bus, our driver announced that we would make one last stop at Seven Mile Beach. On the way, he pointed out various plants including some Mahogany trees. We also passed a school and he explained that on Grand Cayman, every child has to do 1 hour P.E. a day. On one of the neighbouring islands, the kids go to school in two shifts. Half of the kids go to school from 7:00 to 12:00 and the other half from 12:00 to 17:00. Eventually we arrived at the beach. All the beaches on Grand Cayman are public. Our driver had pointed out beach access points a few times. There is a lot of expensive property on the beach front and by law, the owners have to provide an access point to the beach. The stretch of Seven Mile Beach that we were headed for was not hidden by buildings. There was just a small parking area between the road and the beach. It was beautiful though. The beach consisted of fine white sand and the water was a beautiful colour of turquoise. There were some loungers there, some bathrooms, outdoor showers and a play area for the kids. I wish that I had known that we would stop by a beach so that I had brought my swim stuff. We only had about 30 minutes at the beach, but this would have been plenty of time for a quick swim. Graham could not resist it and had a quick paddle. I just took a few photos and then I found some shade near the bus.











After this stop, we headed back to Georgetown. We must have hit what counts for rush hour on Grand Cayman and progress was quite slow. We still arrived back at the port earlier than anticipated. Better still, there was a tender just arriving. They had set up a waiting area with cool damp facecloths and drinks dispensers with water and lemonade. Both the face cloths and the water was heavenly. Once I had my water, we got on the tender. We had to wait about 5 minutes until the tender was full and then we were on our way back to the ship. Again there was a small delay as we had to wait for another tender to clear the ship. There was some backlog at the x-ray machines, but soon we were on our way. Luckily we had arrived at the aft of the ship so it was quick and easy to quickly go up to our cabin and then head for the Promenade Lounge.

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Old 01-03-2013, 12:23 PM   #82
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One of our favourite activities on the ship is the Pirate Trivia. I managed to miss this on our Mexican Riviera cruise as my excursion got back very late and they did not offer it on our Hawaii cruise. It looked like that we would miss it this time, too, as this was due to start at 15:00 and we were not supposed to be back from our excursion until 15:15 to 15:30. Fortunately we had got back to the ship well head of time and we had time to settle own and order a couple of Virgin Piña Coladas before the Pirate Trivia started. The turn out or this was quite good. We had a bit of a shock coming. Essentially as long as we had been doing this, the questions were always the same. However, this time round, the questions were not only different, but also fiendishly difficult. We knew very few of the answers and for the rest we just had to guess. Well, they must have been very educated guesses as we got 20 out of 25 questions right and ended up winning the trivia. Graham and I looked at each other in utter bewilderment when we realised what had just happened. Once we got over the initial surprise we shared a quick high five and then we picked up our prize, a nice pair of DCL key rings.

Graham decided to go for a swim and I went to get changed for all the Pirate Night photo opportunities. This endeavour was not under an auspicious star this time round. I had a mini tricorn made by a local milliner as I did not like the cheap fancy dress tricorn that I had bought for our Hawaii cruise. I figured I would get plenty of use out of it. I absolutely adore it and I could not wait to wear it as part of my costume. I hit the first snag at home, when I could not find my pirate sash anyway. I figured that I would make do without. Unfortunately, I had also packed the wrong dress, which I only realised when I was going to put it on. So I improvised. I had brought a simple burgundy evening gown to wear at Palo that night. So I figured I could get changed into this early and team it up with my tricorn and my pirate medallion for a Pirate Princess outfit.

That settled, I headed down the atrium. Pirate Night is my second favourite night for photo opportunities after formal night. I managed to catch Mickey, Chip and Dale and Minnie in quick succession. I then had a decision to make. Captain Jack Sparrow and Stitch were out at the same time. I still had a good 10 minutes until they were supposed to be out. So I figured I would head up to deck 4 first to see Captain Jack Sparrow and then would go and see Stitch. The line was not even that long. I have seen much worse. However, it did not seem to move at all. When I had my photo taken with Captain Jack Sparrow, I rushed down to the atrium, but Stitch's line was already closed. I had some photos taken against the Pirate Night backdrop and then I went back up to deck 4 to have my photo taken with Captain Hook and Mr Smee.





























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Old 01-03-2013, 12:28 PM   #83
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After this photo marathon, I headed back to our cabin. I switched the accessories to something a bit more understated and suitable for Palo. Graham arrived shortly afterwards and got ready. Once we were both done, we went upstairs to Palo. We got there a bit early. The restaurant manager welcomed us and checked if our table was ready. Our server was Susanna again. Palo was quite empty. We stuck with iced lemon water that evening. Once we had settled, Susanna made us up an antipasti plate consisting of Artichoke Hearts, Olives, Marinated Sweet Peppers, Tapenade, Prosciutto, Bresaola and Parmesan Cubes drizzled with Balsamic Vinegar. This was served with some gorgeous Garlic Pizza Bread, Bread Sticks and some kind of Crisp Bread. Once we had finished this, she asked what we had decided on for our dinner. Susanna talked Graham into trying the Signature Appetiser Sampler, which consisted of Deep-fried Calamari, Sicilian Pesto Marinated Grilled Shrimp on a Mussel, Crab and Cherry Tomato Ragu and Grilled Portobello Mushroom and Polenta with a Roasted Shallot Sauce and Parmesan Crisp. Graham loved the seafood part of the appetiser, but he tried a tiny bite of the Polenta, screwed up his face and quickly put the Polenta on my plate. I did not mind at all as I love this dish. The rest of the meal was a lot more to his liking. He tried the Tenderloin Palo for the first time, but he also had a small portion of the Lobster and Mascarpone Ravioli. I was determined to keep it light that evening. I had the Grilled Portobello Mushroom and Polenta with a Roasted Shallot Sauce and Parmesan Crisp followed by the Chianti Braised Beef Ravioli in a rich Red Wine Reduction with oven-roasted Carrots and Celery. For dessert, Graham had the Panna Cotta with Strawberry-Basil Sorbet and Macerated Berries. I went with the Zabaglione with Sangiovese-infused Berries and Biscotti Crisps. I also could not resist the Strawberry-Basil Sorbet and asked or a scoop of this. Graham loved his dessert. I really enjoyed the Sorbet. The Zabaglione had a lovely taste, but the texture was not right. On the Wonder this was light and fluffy, but this version was more like a dense mousse. We both passed on coffee.















When we had finished our dinner, we took a quick stroll across deck 10 and then headed down the atrium. Graham spotted Stitch and I was quite surprised to see him as he was not supposed to be out at that time. Still, I was not about to complain and quickly joined the line. Unfortunately the line for him was on the Shore Excursion Desk side of the ship and you cannot see what is happening until you are right at the front of the line. When I got to this point, they had switched to Chip and Dale. I could not believe that I had missed Stitch twice. I checked if Stitch would still be out at 20:30 as listed in the Navigator and as I had been told earlier. Initially I was told that he was done for the day, but then the person I was speaking to checked with somebody else and it was confirmed that Stitch was just having a break to have some Pineapple Juice and would be back. That sounded a lot more promising. I spotted Peter Pan out for photos up on deck 4 and decided to go for this. Graham and I then had our photos taken against the Pirates of the Caribbean backdrop and against the white backdrop. Once we were finished with this, I asked the photographer for a magic shot with me fighting Captain Hook. Shortly afterwards, Stitch came back from his break and this time I was near the front of the line. I got a couple of hugs and had my photos done and then we headed back to our cabin.





























It was early still when we got to our cabin. We decided to have a nightcap and opened our bottle of Moscato. It was very nice considering how cheap it was. I took a photo of our towel animal. I wondered if we could see the Pirate Night Fireworks from our cabin and left the curtain to our balcony open. In the end, we were asleep long before the fireworks started.

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Old 01-03-2013, 03:05 PM   #84
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I found your trip reports a while ago and have been trying to catch up as much as possible. I noticed you have a lot of pictures, do you get hard copies of each or are they all on a disk? I've been considering going on a cruise but heard pictures were expensive, so if there is a photopass deal out there, it may be worth it.
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:26 PM   #85
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I found your trip reports a while ago and have been trying to catch up as much as possible. I noticed you have a lot of pictures, do you get hard copies of each or are they all on a disk? I've been considering going on a cruise but heard pictures were expensive, so if there is a photopass deal out there, it may be worth it.
Welcome on board. There is no Photopass deal on the ships as such as an outside company is providing the photography services. There have been rumours for a while that Disney would take this over, but so far this has not materialized. They do offer a CD with all the photos. It is not cheap, but as I usually have a ton of photos taken, it works out between $1 and $2 per photo. Ever since our Transatlantic cruise in 2010, I have got the CD. On our most recent cruise they did a deal that if you bought the CD, you could get all the prints, too for an extra $50. So I went for this, but I think in future I will just get the CD.

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Old 01-03-2013, 03:41 PM   #86
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Originally Posted by dolphingirl47 View Post
Welcome on board. There is no Photopass deal on the ships as such as an outside company is providing the photography services. There have been rumours for a while that Disney would take this over, but so far this has not materialized. They do offer a CD with all the photos. It is not cheap, but as I usually have a ton of photos taken, it works out between $1 and $2 per photo. Ever since our Transatlantic cruise in 2010, I have got the CD. On our most recent cruise they did a deal that if you bought the CD, you could get all the prints, too for an extra $50. So I went for this, but I think in future I will just get the CD.

Corinna
Thanks for the info. Now I'll sit back and wait for the rest of the trip to unveil. I love that you put in a lot of information that could come in handy someday!
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Old 01-04-2013, 11:02 AM   #87
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Your excursion sounded lovely, especially the mangrove portion and the beach.
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Old 01-04-2013, 01:05 PM   #88
dolphingirl47
I will post my goodies once I am back
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Your excursion sounded lovely, especially the mangrove portion and the beach.
It was a fun excursion, but I have to admit my favourite part was the visit to Hell. The lime stone formations just fascinate me.

Corinna
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Old 01-04-2013, 04:48 PM   #89
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Who knew Hell would be so nice
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Old 01-05-2013, 11:27 AM   #90
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What a memorable day love your red gown
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