Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Vacation the first part: Cruisin!

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This is the ship we spent four days on before my birthday...the Disney Wonder...
ship view ...as in, "I wonder why we haven't done this before!!!" We've been on two cruises before (both on Norwegian), but this was by far and away the nicest boat we've been on. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

We drove down on Saturday with our friends the Dunlaps. The only two things I have to note are
1) I could finally tell the economy is bad because there was room to walk around the merchandise in Cracker Barrel. (For those not in the US, Cracker Barrel is a wonderful place to eat--inexpensive, good food--BUT in front of the restaurant is a store filled with all manner of junk.)

2) Michael got a suh-weet deal on a hotel through priceline. We stayed in Daytona for 35 bucks, in a suite with full kitchen, and free breakfast in the morning (eggs, bacon and Belgian waffles...not just continental fare!) It even came with...
popcorn FREE POPCORN! (Michael's favorite thing...besides, perhaps, milkshakes.)

After going to church (where I was SERIOUSLY underdressed...I usually wear jeans to my church, and there was NO ONE there in jeans...I've never seen so many sensible women's shoes in one place at the same time!) we headed over to Port Canaveral to board our floating buffet ship! Here's a shot of the adult pool: smoke stack I gotta say that I was a teensy bit in trepidation that there would be kids running amok the whole cruise. My fears were completely unfounded. Most of the time, the kids were participating in their own programs, but those we did see were very well-behaved. And I've never seen a cleaner ship. Nary a stray ice-cream drip anywhere!

After scoring our first free meal touring the deck, we decided to take the spa tour. Every cruise I've been on, they have the free spa tour on embarkation day. It's fun if for nothing else than to see what it looks like. Check out the dolphin mosaics: spa This is in the "Rainforest Room," where there is a sauna, a steam room, an aroma steam room, three showers that shoot different good-smelling stuff on you, and these chairs that Michael is sitting in which are heated, tile recliners. When we found out you could get a cruise-long pass for two for about the same price as one, Michael decided we should go for it. We missed the departure party on deck, but...it was really relaxing!

Each night, our wonderful hostess Shemma made us a cute towel animal. The best part: It always held (at least) two pieces of chocolate! The first night, a swan: towel swan Check out our gigantic room! To the left of the curtains that partitioned off the bed, that's a sofa!! If you've ever been on a cruise, you know that that's crazy big. Usually, the shower in the room is so small, if you drop the soap, you have to get out to bend down and grab it! This bathroom was so big, it had a TUB! Now, it was a weensy tub, but a tub nonetheless!!

Our second day started with a nutritious breakfast: waffle OK, so that's pushing it, but I had the wonderful epiphany that since we were on the cruise, they had to bring me a kids' meal if I asked for one!! I couldn't resist the Mickey waffle! I also had this wonderful granola/fresh mango/yogurt concoction called "Mango Mountain Hike". Yummmm.....

After breakfast and walking around on deck, I wandered over (late) to have a pedicure with Maria. I think the two boys were flummoxed at all the spa parenphrenalia, but they couldn't resist taking pictures. pedi So relaxing, and I was happy to make our pedicuristas giggle as I tried to keep my ticklish feet from jumping all over. Even my toes were ticklish!!

Once our toes were pretty, we sashayed off the ship into Nassau. It's very touristy near the docks, as usual...this is my favorite sign...jewelry ...but, you can find wonderful historic sites nearly everywhere. We saw their equivalent of City Hall, a very cool tropical-looking building (why didn't I take a picture?) which turned out to be the library, and some memorials to soldiers in the World Wars. I saw a man walk past with a can of ginger beer (non-alcoholic but potent stuff!) and wondered why we had been on land for an hour and didn't have any! We hiked towards the Queen's Staircase, which was carved out of solid rock: Queen's staircase Once we climbed the stairs, we stopped at a small store to purchase ginger beer, some yummy fresh homemade coconut clusters (no picture; they were gone too soon), and some fruity sweet soda (there's nothing better than local snacks!!) on our way to a historic fort. punch Yeah, you can see a cannon and our ship in the background, but, more importantly, the soda! =)

On our way back down, we passed the "typical" Bahamian architecture: a house with a second-floor porch, suspended above the sidewalk. This home had a free tour through it. Pictures weren't allowed inside, but I wish I could show you the cool staircase made from a ship's stairway! porch Here we are with our very gracious tour guide, who I am sure was a bit taken aback at our complete lack of knowledge of British history as he quizzed us during his spiel!

We decided to pass on the pirate museum due to budget considerations (though it did look pretty good...but you have to save something for the next cruise!!). We were planning on going to the junkaroo exhibit, but, sadly, it was not open. Michael had to console himself with a couple costumes they had displayed in the dock terminal. junkanoo Speaking of bazaars, I wish I'd gotten a picture of the huge craft market. But we were so overwhelmed, it didn't even occur to me. I'm pretty sure I've never seen that many straw purses in one place before!!

It's kind of sad how special this sign made me feel: welcome But, you know, that's Disney! The poor Carnival cruise minions did not get a sign at all as they boarded their "floating shoebox".

Since we were signed up for the late seating for dinner, we went to the "early" shows. The first night, the show was "The Golden Mickeys," a mock awards show framework for a revue of various shows. We were a little amazed at the number of costume changes and some of the sets. But it didn't prepare us for the second night's show, "Toy Story the Musical"! I must insert here that I generally derisively snicker whenever a show claims to be "Broadway style." I think the only people who are fooled are those who have never really seen a show on Broadway. So, I was must amused that this show was announced as being "Broadway like" rather than "Broadway style." =) But really...what do you expect on a ship? Well, not this: toy story Do you notice the giant Rex? Hamm?? Mr. Potato Head??? Slink???? Did I mention that all of their eyes and mouths moved? It was an awesome combination of puppetry and acting. The cast members who played Woody and Buzz had all their inflections and physicality down pat! And the sets!! We figured they had about two decks of fly space above the stage, and at least one below. I've never seen a show on a ship with trap doors before!

I'd love to have the soundtrack just for this number: The Claw!! the claw! "All Hail The Claw!!"

Check out Buzz's costume: rocket Buzz I realize these aren't the greatest pictures, but since I was taking them without the benefit of the screen, I'm pretty happy with how they turned out. (I was looking through the viewfinder! Old Skool!!)

After another fabulous dinner, we were off to bed, ready to get up and enjoy our day on Disney's private island. Tonight's towel animal bids you good-bye until I can continue the recap! dog

We went, we cruised, we ate. And ate....


Shanta Hayes said...

Glad to see some pics, and hear about all the fun. I'm going to look into a cruise right now!

Daffycat said...

Oh Heather! How much fun is this? It looks like such a grand time! I can't wait to hear more.

Anonymous said...

Oh my, I'm so jealous! And sad we're leaving the east coast before ever doing one of these cruises. Glad it was so fun!

Annie said...

What a great photo-journal of your trip. That looks like so much fun and you really knew how to pick out the special moments.

Jean in Georgia said...

Looks like you had a great time! Looking forward to the next installment.

StitchinKat said...

Wow! Color me jealous! DH has always wanted to do a cruise...does Disney go to Alaska?
LOL....my dream cruise would have to include whales! Can't wait to see more pics!

Susan @ Real Girl Designs said...

I definitely want to go on a Disney cruise after reading this post! I've never been on a cruise!

Unknown said...

I relived the cruise all over again reading this post! BTW, I snunk in a picture of the mahogany staircase, so I will have to share. You have some fabulous pictures of the shows! I didn't even attempt to take any with my screen off... it's time to swap photos.

TeresaB said...

One of my favorite things in the world: Goombay Punch! It's so yummy. And you should be in the Bahamas when there's a parade they use the junkaroo costumes. It's so much fun! Looks like you had a great time. Now I can't wait to go later in the month.

Old Geek-outs