Because boarding one of the biggest cruise ships around for a week deserves its own recap 🙂
An early morning shuttle ride to Port Canaveral meant breakfast was actually a bag of kettle corn. Soon, we were checked in and ready to board the Disney Fantasy!
We could not get into our rooms for a few hours, so we changed into our bathing suits (conveniently packed in carry-ons) and hit the pool. Since there was barely anyone around–thank you, early boarding group!–we decided to ride the line-less waterslide called the Aquaduck. The low-down: get in a two-person raft (single rider, optional), the attendant pushes a magical button that sets you off into a tube that loops off of the side of the boat (that means over the ocean, people), ride around both smoke stacks with the occasional dip, wave to everyone on the deck watching you, go back around the first smoke stack, splash out of the tube and into the ankle deep unloading area. Haley and I rode together twice.
An iced tea was in order, obviously. So was relaxing in a lounge chair with a good book.
Of course, I needed to check out the gym. Two miles on the elliptical and some ab workouts later, I was ready to scarf down the complimentary bananas and lemon water provided. There was also the casual glance at Cute Gym Boy.
Dinner was at the Royal Court, which turned out to be my favorite of the three restaurants. It was the definition of a princess’ dining room. Cinderella’s carriage themed bread baskets, napkins folded to look like tuxedos, glittering chandeliers, intricate carpet designs. It was meant for me!
Meal: Potato and leek soup, Grilled Chicken with Vegetables and a Baked Potato, Strawberry Shortcake Sundae
Post dinner shenanigans: Avengers: Age of Ultron in the Buena Vista Theatre
Ready for a day at sea? Me, too! A yummy breakfast at the cafeteria style Cabanas. Fruit, muffins, hashbrowns, French Toast. My mom, Haley, and I went to see the new, live-action Cinderella, where I still find the prince a joy to look at. When Haley and I found our way to the deck, we also found a few more of our clan. They were about to go to the showing of Inside Out. I tagged along because, well, why not?
Another short trip to the gym meant I got to see Cute Gym Boy again. I didn’t even really go to work out, I just wanted to look out the window wall at the ocean. Such a wonderful view! I could feel the boat rocking while doing planks, which was not so fun. I am actually reliving it now, just thinking about it. After my shower, Chelsea and I met at The Tube (the British themed club) for a seminar on diamonds and other gemstones. If you went, you got a voucher for a free pair of tanzanite stud earrings, redeemable at their store in Cozumel. Being on the fourth deck at the back of the ship, the dizziness caught up with me again. The man leading the seminar was adorable and Irish, which helped me get through it, but I really needed a nap.
Dinner tonight was at the Animator’s Palate, where screens all around the dining room show drawing from various Disney movies. Crush, Dory, Marlin, and Nemo from Finding Nemo came onto the big screens and interacted with us. We even played some charades with the school of fish.
Meal: Cheddar and Potato soup, Grilled Sirloin Steak with Vegetables and a Baked Potato (can you tell I love potatoes?), Warm Apple Pie with Ice Cream
Post-dinner shenanigans: a little thing called “Quest,” where I had to take off my bra from underneath my shirt and put it on Cole in about ten seconds, 80s/90s dance party in the Tube.
We have docked in Cozumel, Mexico! I may have lived in Southern California my entire life, but this was my first ever trip to our neighbors of the south.
Our excursion: sailboat races! We learned the basics of how to sail, thanks to our awesome Australian captain Ian, and raced against another family. Let me tell you, though, it is quite strange to listen to an Australian speak Spanish. But no surprise, we won! I know my Uncle Steve was looking down proudly on us.
By lunch time, Chelsea and I were picking up our free earrings. They are small, but the color is gorgeous!
Soon enough, it was time for dinner at the Enchanted Garden, themed how you would expect, an enchanted garden. flowers everywhere!
Meal: Salad (which does not sound very exciting), Cucumber Vegetable Wrap, and I do not really remember what I got for dessert, but I am sure it was chocolate-related.
Post-dinner shenanigans: more trivia and comedy shows. We adored the host of them all. Tisa is queen!
Welcome to Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands! Today is a day for snorkeling around a shipwreck and then a coral reef. The crystal clear blue water was the perfect temperature for exploring. We took an underwater camera and a GoPro with us, and we took quite a few pictures and videos. It was so cool!
Being on the catamaran that took us from place to place made me very seasick, so by the time we had to get back on the boat, I was ready for a nap. Chelsea and I did stop for t-shirts, though. I got a comfy tank top. After my shower, my name took me all the way to dinner. Tonight we were back at the Royal Court, where I ate possibly my favorite meal of the whole vacation.
Meal: No appetizer or soup or salad, Mushroom Ravioli, Banana Bread Pudding
Post-dinner shenanigans: Not quite sure…more trivia? Dancing? Probably both. All I know, is that I was still thinking about that ravioli.
Jamaica, mon! We docked in Falmouth fairly early in the morning, and were on the bus to our excursion in no time.
First, there was a forty-five minute bus ride to our destination. The scenery was fabulous, and I was in love at first sight. Then we hiked up a thousand foot waterfall. Not next to it. On it. Water gushing past us, waist-deep at times, photo breaks, shouting words and phrases common to Jamaica. The bus then took us to a coastal ranch, where we rode horses through trees and greenery, followed by trekking through the ocean–only about shin deep, though, and by that I mean that it only went to our shins while we were on the horse.
This was quite possibly my favorite place we stopped at. I will always remember how beautiful it all was. Greenery, mountains, rivers…words cannot do it justice.
The seasickness took me for a ride tonight. I could not even sit through the main course (at Animator’s Palate, and left early. I missed the majority of Pirate Night, which meant no firework show for me 😦
Meal, until I left for bed: Ceasar salad topped with ribs. I only got through a few bites before I had to leave.
No post-dinner shenanigans. Only a twelve-hour night of sleep.
Ready for another day at sea? I tried to be. That long night of sleep was much needed, and I woke up feeling refreshed and ready for another day.
After not doing so wonderfully at all the trivia games, today we managed to take the cake in Movie Quote Trivia. We got Mickey Mouse shaped medals and everything! Cole and I were pumped to have finally won something. I shopped a bit for a souvenir, and picked out a navy blue and white striped tote, which the captain signed for me. Thank you, Captain Thord!! Then I went to see Tomorrowland at the theater. That movie got some flack, but I enjoyed it. It had a good message, and I think the actors did a great job in bringing the story to life.
I finally got a burger, too. After all the fancy food, what I really needed was a good, old-fashioned cheeseburger. Boy, was it yummy! Since I had time, I considered going to the gym in the afternoon, but I wanted to finish The Parent Trap (from 1961), and also watch the newer version. Tanning was another option, but I had already had so much sun the last few days, and I needed a little break.
Dinner was at the Animator’s Palate again, and this time, I was feeling pretty good. We got to draw pictures, which our waiters and waitresses collected. Then our drawings came to life on the screens! It was very cool.
Meal: Something meat-related, probably, I was still thinking about that ravioli, Chocolate Lava Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream
Post-dinner shenanigans: a magic show, which sounds not cool, but I loved it!
Our last stop was at Disney’s Bahamian island, Castaway Cay. Relaxing, tanning, bike riding…Such a great day.
I rode the 5K bike trail with a cast member, Haley, Kameron, and a guy we met earlier on the cruise. So beautiful! When I got back, I went for a dip with the parents and some of the kids and teenagers of our clan. The water was so warm and clear. I cannot get over how gorgeous everything was.
Cole and Mitchell dragged me out to the water again, after I had already started tanning and drying. I guess I can’t complain, though. Then came lunch! I was not too hungry, so I settled for some fruit and cous cous. And banana bread because I can never say no to that.
My mom, dad, JoDee, and Clint wanted to bike around the island, and I jumped at the chance to do it again. This time, we got to stop at the lookout, which we skipped over the first time. I remembered it from our first cruise three years ago, and made a point to go back. At the top of the structure, you can see everything. The flowers and shrubs and trees and mangroves and beaches. Everything!
And when you look back at the boat, you cannot believe how far you are away from it. It is a little spec in the panoramic view of the island.
By the time we returned from our ride, I was ready to go back to the boat and shower. As I pulled into the bike rental area, a bird pooped on me! SO GROSS!! Thank God Disney has cleansing wipes everywhere, so I could wipe it off right away. My dad and I returned to our room, and I jumped right in the shower.
Dinner was at the Enchanted Garden once again. I love it there!
Meal: Salad, Pasta with Tomato Sauce and Shrimp, Apple Pie with Ice Cream and a slice of Baked Alaska because I couldn’t decide. Definitely my second favorite dinner of the cruise.
Post-dinner shenanigans: Battle of the Sexes game, Hypnotist show.
A quick breakfast at the Enchanted Garden (three pancakes: wheat, buttermilk, blueberry; and a waffle–it all came together), and we were off the boat!
A shuttle to the airport came next, and then a seven hour wait at the airport…until our plane was supposed to leave. Yup. Seven hours. Then a layover. We arrived at the airport at ten, Florida time, and left LAX at midnight, California time.
I went straight to bed.
Spending two weeks of quality time with my family showed me a lot of things. For example, quality time has its limits. At some point, you get really tired of sharing a space only as large as a dorm room. At times, it was very obvious that I did not fit in with them. I do not know why I am the black sheep of the family, but it was made clear that I was rather often.
One of the biggest challenges was eating all that food. You try to get the most out of it–ordering two entrees just to try them both, or two desserts, or an appetizer AND a soup or salad. It is common nature to everyone else at the table to order it all with no question. For me, it was difficult, partly because eating that much food makes me feel sick, and the sea sickness did not help my case. It took a lot for me to order more than say, a salad and a sugar-free dessert, but I did it because it is good for me. I have to get over this fear of eating.
I only went to the gym twice. I wanted to go more to “make up” for my dinners, but I realized there was much better ways to spend my time. The pools, the clubs, trivia, movies, naps. If I had time, maybe, but I sure was not going to make time for it. Vacations are for having fun, and to be honest, I do not find the gym all that fun. I never “feel good” after a workout like gym nuts do. I feel worse, actually. I have found that walking (on the treadmill or the street) a few times a week makes me feel much better than an intense run. However, I do enjoy the elliptical–I feel like I am walking on air!
Despite the challenges and obstacles that came with this trip, I would not have traded that time for anything. My love for Disney overpowers almost everything. But nobody wants to hear me go on and on about how much I love Walt and his legacy.
Your kooky Disney freak, Ash
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