Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Boarding the Dream

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Thank you for all the well wishes for my health! Seriously, your comments are like getting little bits of sunshine in my inbox. =) I do feel a little better today, but, as Little Orphan Annie would say, "Yesterday was plain awful!"

For my birthday, we went to Disney! Our plan was a four-day cruise on the brand-new Disney Dream (about twice as big as the Magic and the Wonder), followed by a few days at the parks. We'd been on board the Wonder about two years ago (just before my birthday) and had a blast. On Saturday, we drove down to spend the night in Daytona before boarding on Sunday (my actual birthday!) On the way, we stopped for tea in Savannah.

Now, I'd been to Savannah before, but just on the outskirts and by the river (which is kind of crowded and a little junky looking). So I had no idea that most of Savannah is simply beautiful and looks like this:

I know Spanish Moss is a parasite and all, but it's a darn gorgeous one, and any tree draped in it just looks instantly romantic. We had tea at the Gryphon Tea Room (no website! shocked, I tell you!).
Since we hadn't had lunch, we didn't do the full tea, but just got a pot of tea, TOFFEE SCONES, and a simply divine turkey sandwich with cranberry mayo and avocado, with a side of sweet potato fries.
We also met what must be the only living soul in Savannah who has not heard of pralines...he was our waiter and he had to tell us twice that he was serious. Of course, we stopped off at River Street Sweets for pralines. We did not go back and share. =)

After spending the night in Daytona, we got to the port around 11:30...later than we wanted, but hey, we're on vacation. There was a line to get into the terminal, and then what looked like a huge line to board the ship. However, I asked, "Any special boarding group for birthday girls?" The cast member helping us asked if it was my birthday that day, and when I said yes, she said, "How about if I walk you on board?"


Edited to add, since I see a lot of Google searches landing here: We were originally in boarding group 14. We later talked to people who were waiting at 10 for the gates to the terminal to open, but did not get on board until 12:30.

Cast members form an entry aisle, your family name is announced as you board, and they all cheer! Then you walk into the beautiful atrium... a cast member personally welcomes you and tells you when you can expect your stateroom to be ready and where to get lunch. Hey, get a load of that chandelier!

Later we talked to a couple who got there at 10:00 and didn't board until about 12:30, so that was a great birthday perk! And, fewer people on board meant that it was easier to wander alllll around the ship and take pictures of the excellent interiors before they were crowded with people.
Classic hallway.
Shopping area (I like that they put all the shopping in one place so it wasn't scattered all over the ship...easy to see everything or avoid!)
Disney Digital 3D movie theater! (Showing Tron: Legacy, Tangled, Gnomeo & Juliet and I Am Number Four)

The exteriors were another story! The clear tube you see going around the ship is the water coaster, The Aquaduck! It goes the whole way around the top deck. You ride in a figure-eight inner tube, without the holes cut out, so that water jets can "push" you up hills and dips! It's thrilling but certainly not scary, and a lot of fun. In the clear portions, you're just kind of gliding along at a sedate pace; you can wave to the people in the pool or just look out at the water.

The little kids' area was really cute, in a Finding Nemo theme:

The ice cream stand made me laugh out loud...

The adults-only pool was much more sedate!

After grabbing some food at the buffet, we headed off to the spa tour. We always take the spa tour; sometimes they have giveaways, sometimes they have great specials, and it's fun to see the spa decor. Just look:

We did end up getting a couples' spa pass; they are always so reasonable for what you get: unlimited access to the Rainforest Room, steam rooms, and hot tubs (which as you can see would have a beautiful view of the ocean) well as those awesome heated chairs. I must say, though, I liked the heated chairs better on the Wonder...better contours.

As we were touring the ship, we stopped off at the desk by Remy and Palo, the two specialty upcharge restaurants on board. We had reservations at Palo for that night. We'd really wanted to eat at Remy, but had been unable to get reservations. To our surprise, they had reservations available!! So we canceled Palo and prepared to enjoy Remy!

Finally, we ran by to check out our room. There were prizes! Since this was our second cruise with Disney, we are now Castaway Club members...and members get a neat beach bag (with bottles for water and giant flip-flop shaped krispie treats.

I have blogged before that the rooms on Disney ships are huge; but I wasn't able to get a picture of the bathroom before...with TUB. Check it:

We got an interior room ON PURPOSE, and here's why it was better than a normal room:
You can turn the porthole off at night! Seriously, though the magic porthole shows the view you would be seeing, from a camera. If you're on the starboard side, you see the starboard view. If your stateroom faces aft, your magic porthole looks out the back of the boat. Oh yeah, and Disney characters float, fly and drift past every now and then! That's the house from UP you can see. We also saw Kevin (the bird), Russell, Tinkerbell, Arthur and Merlin as birds, Peach (the starfish from Finding Nemo), Goofy on surfboard, Flit.... Yeah, and this is the only one we managed to photograph!

I got carried away with the pictures, sorry! But I feel like Anne of Green Gables...if you only knew how many pictures I wanted to include, and didn't, you'd see I'm really doing very well! More to come!

So far, the Dream is just that!!


Jackie's Stitches said...

You know, I've never thought of taking a Disney cruise without kids. After reading your post, I think I'd like it a whole lot!

P.S. You look fabulous!

Parsley said...

WOW! If I weren't afraid of being motion sick I'd be onboard with you!

Aimee said...

Okay, WOW.

Just, wow.

So jealous! I think I said that before.

Katri said...

Wow! What a cruise and cruise ship, quite different from what we are used to here in Finland (the boats cruising from here to Sweden and back, or to Estonia and back)...

Hope you'll feel better soon, and get some answers from the tests!

Erin (moviemuse) said...

It looks amazing! And that porthole is awesome. I'm putting that down in my "remember if we ever take a Disney cruise" book. Can't wait to see what's next!

Susan @ Real Girl Designs said...

I would love to take a Disney cruise. I have a *significant* birthday coming up this year, so I might have to try to talk my DH into taking me :)

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