In a nutshell, we had an AWESOME time.
one of our first glimpses of our home for 7 nights!
We booked our trip just about a month before we set sail, and we couldn't wait to go. We tried to keep it a surprise for Keira, but that didn't work out too well. I'm sure the Disney Cruise Line website on the computer when we told her we were going on a cruise didn't help.
We looked into excursions, but ended up not booking any in the end because anything we were interested was either booked or too expensive. We figured we would spend our time in ports exploring and hanging on the beach. Since we flew in the night before our cruise, we rented a car one-way and booked one night's hotel stay in Cocoa Beach, Florida which is right down the road from Port Canaveral where the ship was. We had a short layover in Denver, which turned into a few hours because of flight delays, so we didn't end up getting into Orlando until after dinnertime.
it's a good thing we didn't get to meet this alligator...
We boarded just around 1pm and our family was welcomed on board over the PA system. Disney creates the "Disney effect" almost as soon as you set foot on the ship and we knew we were in for a magical time. Our room wasn't ready yet, so we explored. We had lunch in the Enchanted Garden and got our first taste of the buffet. Finding our way around was confusing at first, but by the third day, we were pros. When we could finally get into our room, we changed into our bathing suits and hit the pool.
our HUGE corner room...we lucked out!!
the pool deck and Keira's first dip in the jacuzzi.
The entire week was nothing but a really good time. We signed Keira up for the Oceaneer's Club, which is for kids between 3 and 11. They had an open house on the first day, so we checked it out. There were different rooms based on different movies and lots of areas for playtime, crafts, movies, dancing and even lunch and dinner if the kids opted to eat there instead. Let's just say that once Keira found out about the Oceaneer's Club, she didn't want to hang out with her old mom and dad!! We almost had to beg her to have dinner with us or watch a movie in the theater.
Mike and I managed to have some time to ourselves too, between hot stone massages and brunch at Palo, one of 2 adult-only restaurants on board. I'd have to say we ate pretty good on the ship, and we have the extra pounds to show for it. We finally learned the art of ordering not just one appetizer, entree or dessert, but TWO! Keira, on the other hand, ate nothing but chicken tenders most of the trip.
Since this cruise was planned mostly for Keira, we treated her to a little princess pampering at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. This 5-year-old was in heaven:
She probably wore that dress every night for dinner the rest of the week :)
There were lots of rides on the AquaDuck water slide, and a part of it even goes out OVER the side of the ship, so you see nothing but water underneath you. We witnessed a kid get stuck on the slide, so a crew member had to stop all the water, go through a side door on the slide and get the kid out. Nothing major, but it happens.
Our 3 ports were St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Disney's Castaway Cay in the Bahamas. The weather was beautiful during our first 2 ports, but it rained most of the time we were on Castaway Cay. It was a bummer because this port is what people look forward to the most, and we couldn't fully enjoy it.
Disney's Castaway Cay, Bahamas
we made sure to send ourselves a postcard from the post office on the island. they have their very own postmark! still waiting for the postcard though..
And we definitely can't forget the plethora of characters on board. They were out and about the ship throughout each day, and there were professional photographers on board to get pictures too. They charge an arm and a leg to purchase, but it's a consideration if you don't have a camera.
There was Pirate's Night were we all dressed up in our best pirate attire and had a fun deck party complete with fireworks over the ocean. There was a formal dress night which we could've done more with, but we aren't tuxedo and ballgown kinds of people. Disney offers a rotational dining experience where you cycle through the 3 different restaurants on board during the cruise, and each restaurant offers a different atmosphere. I think Animator's Palate was our favorite. On our last night dining there, we drew cartoons that came to life during our meal!
Mike's man is the green one, and Keira's is the red girl on the right.
Keira's on the left and mine the green girl with the Mickey on her shirt.
Our awesome servers Pita (from Portugal) and Gloria (from Peru), who served us all 7 nights. They are truly some of the nicest people and work hard at their job to ensure we have a good time.
We were really sad when it was time to debark, and Keira kept asking if we could stay on for another 7 to 10 days. Lucky for her, we booked another cruise for sometime next year and at a discounted rate!! It was too good of a deal to pass up, and we can always change the date if needed. We are definitely looking forward to sailing with Disney again!