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And The Magic Still Lives - Part 2

#1 User is offline   Howie 

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Posted 18 February 2005 - 07:24 AM

sorry i didnt realize all of the report didnt post so here is 'the balance' ;-):

Now was unpacking time and that is what we did. There was plenty of room for everything although we didnt need it since we kept one entire suitcase unopened at WDW with the majority of out cruisewear in it. I also had a large garment bag for the nice stuff which I hung and opened in the closet in our room's hallway. We went out on the verandah a little and Sarah played a little Disney music from one of the books. We had chosen the early seating for dinner and toinight was Parrot Cay so we decided to explore the ship and go up to the sailaway party on deck 9 right after the boat drill which went off fine. But first, right after the drill, we went to hear about the shopping in Nassau lecture with Sharon. Then to the party which was a blast with a live band playing some oldies but goodies and we even had a little ice cream too from scoops. As we were up at the party, the MC announced the 10 second countdown to departure close to 5 PM when the ship should have left but nothing happened. Then I saw over the side that some people came running to board the ship and now I realize what happend after hearing about the fire on the bus and how the ship must have waited for everyone to arrive. So we head down to explore a little more and then go aft to Parrot Cay for a great dinner, not that we were very hungry anymore from a full day of eating. While dining the ship finally pulled out and we were underway. Susan had me put on the seabands for her but the ship was so smooth I dont think that she really needed them and she didnt wear them on the thrid day at all. One thing that I was a bit disappointed about is we were seated at a table for four in the middle, number 64, along side of other 4's. I would have liked to sit at a larger table and meet others but this was fine I guess. Our server was Danjiel from Croatia and his assistant was Fortune from India. The head server was Ali who spent a lot of time with all the kids, including Sarah, making dreams come true. After dinner we went to play bingo which we didnt win and then to the show. The first night was Hercules the muse-ical. The bingo finished late and we didnt get to the theater, only one floor up right above us, until just before the show. We managed to get good seats but not up front where I like. The seats were about 8 rows back on stage right of center and good. But I planned on doing better the next two nights and planned for it.

The show was absolutely fantastic. It is extremely campy and probably over the heads of most kids and even some adults but it was a gas. I think Hades stole the show. It was a bit cool in the theater for Susan and Sarah who werent prepared for it so they remembered that for the next nights. The show itself was extremely professional and on par with the Beauty and the Beast and old Hunchback show at WDW.
After the show we strolled through the shops and then returned to the room about 10:30 PM. I was very much looking forward to the morning massage before our trip into Nassau. I called Mickey to wake us up at 6:30 AM to prepare for my massages.

Day 10 - Nassau

I was very much awake when the phone rang at 6:30 AM so I grabbed it by the first third of the ring. Mickey told me to get up and to get ready for a grand day and I was definitely going to listen to him as always. I slipped out of bed as not to wake Susan and gently walked over to the closed curtains in the dining room. I poked my head in between them and I saw land in the distance. We were very close to the Bahamas I just knew it. So it was time to get ready for the great beginning to my day. I quietly went back into the bedroom through the dressing room hallway to our bathroom and turned on the cold water and took my morning medicines - nothing major, just synthroid and nexium. Then I opened the hot water and shaved. All seemed fine and it was approaching 7 AM when I decided to shower since I was expecting the door bell to ring at 8 AM. You might think I am nuts but I always shower before a massage even though I shower right afterwards too in order to wash off all the oils they use. The first shower is to be presentable for the person massaging me and to have a clean body since one keeps very very little on for a massage usually ;-). So I now turn on the hot water in the shower and then the cold. But something funny is happening - the cold water seems to make the hot water even hotter????? So I shut the hot and just run the cold and OUCH!!!! it is scalding. Then I go into Sarah's bathroom and turn on her cold and still boiling hot. Then I try the guest bathroom and the same thing. Oh no, what am I going to do???? If I can't shower before the bell rings I'll have to cancel the massage - just call me eccentric or nuts lol. Susan and Sarah are still asleep and have no idea what is going on. So I call guest services and they send someone right up. He rings the bell and this wakes up both my princesses. I explain to them what has been going on. So the attendant tries the water and the same thing. It is now 7:20 AM and I am sweating. I tell Susan that I am going to have to cancel the appointment if I can't shower and she says that the policy she read is that if you don't cancel 24 hours before they charge you half. So now I am fuming becasue this is turning into a mess. The attendant says he will be right back and then he leaves. 15 minutes later the doorbell again and he returns with another guy dressed in what looks like a steam train engineers outfit. He says it should be fixed now and the problem happens often aborad cruise ships due to the mixing of the waters down below and how to evenly distribute them. I wasn't really interested in the mechanics of it all I just wanted to hurry and get ready. So he leaves and I jump into the shower and finish at 7:50 PM and relax while Susan says that I should keep the pocket doors closed to the master bedroom and she and Sarah will remain in there during my massage. Promptly at 8 the door bell rings again and I open the door and see Matthew carrying a portable massage table with a breathing hole. I tell him that I wasn't aware he did the massages as well and he steps aside as he says he only brought up the table when a nice young girl named Marianne comes in and introduces herself. She is from South Africa and has another great accent. So they set up the table right near the piano and she begins. It wasn't exactly 2 hours but 50 minutes on the whole body and then 50 minutes on the feet for reflexology. We had some nice conversations because I knew some South Africans while I lived in Italy and my neighbors had just returned from a wedding there last month and told us all about it. During the massages both Susan and Sarah kept popping in the room to see how things were going. Usually, when I get worked on like this, I fall asleep but I was just too excited on this trip to do that especially when we were docking in Nassau and I could feel the side thrusters and had to look out the windows. Marianne finished at 9:40 sharp and I didn't even see a clock anywhere lol. She called Matthew who came back up to help her pack up while I showered again. Susan and Sarah saw them out and then we went down to breakfast. We still had plenty of time to eat a good and full breakfast at Parrot Cay and then return to the room to get our stuff to disembark.

We got off the ship and walked through the terminal and then started to shop along the Shoppers in Paradise path that we heard about in the lecture the afternoon before by Sharon. But I told Susan and Sarah that we should grab a cab over to Atlantis first and explore the aquariums and dig and gamble a little and then return to shop and have lunch back on board or have lunch and then go back out to shop. So we take a cab to Atlantis and we walk into the casino and was amazed that Sarah and everyother kid were allowed to be in there as long as they didn't touch any machines or throw the dice lol. I walk over to the Temple of the Blue Moon and get three wristbands and we head out of the casino to the Dig area. We spend about an hour between the Dig, the aquariums and just looking around the resort and shops and then go back into the casino to try and win our trip back ;-). Between the 2 of us all we did win was the cab fare back to the ship so it wasn't too bad a day. The weather was great although quite hot so when we got back to the terminal area Susan wanted to go back on board and cool off. We made it just in time to eat lunch at Topsiders this time - not bad but I think Parrot Cay was better. Then we decided to stay aboard and and roam the ship instead of going back out into Nassau - actually Susan had enough of the place and was more then content to stay 'in Disney' the rest of the trip ;-). We also had the bridge tour scheduled for 3 PM and she had the Spa appointment at 4:30 so everything fell into place. We went up to deck 9 and had some ice cream and saw the characters coming out of the elevator and had a great view of them. Then still on deck 9 we met at the lobby of the Vista Spa for the bridge tour. The tour was great and very informative - I even taped the whole tour. There were only about 20 people on the tour so we could all see everything from each ones vantage point. As we left the next tour was waiting to come in. So we passed them by and headed back out to the deck. Then it was getting near the time for Susan to go to the Spa so we dropped Susan off there and Sarah and I told her we would meet her back in the room after we looked around a bit. Susan cautioned me not to buy too much stuff for Sarah while she was gone - I can never be trusted you know ;-) lol. So Sarah and I looked around and then got back to the suite about 5 minutes before Susan. We changed for dinner since tonight was Tritons and we wanted to dress up a little. So on to Tritons and a magnificient dinner with the same crew of course. Ali, the head server asked Sarah, as he did other kids, to help him prepare the Cherries Jubilee dessert so when the time came he came over to the table and got her and she went off to help.

Now if you recall we didnt get the best seats last night for the show and I wanted to get them tonight so since the preshow was to start at 8:15 I figured a good time for me to wait at the doors was 7:45 or so. We played a quick game of Mickey Mania Trivia for which we weren't selected to participate even though when the CM asked for guests to get up and act crazy I sure did but...................what can I say, I guess I wasn't acting their kind of crazy lol. After the game I told Susan that I would wait for the show and get the seats and she and Sarah could browse the shops until showtime. Tonights show was to be The Golden Mickeys and first a pre-show walking down the red carpet. There are two sides to enter the theater and there was one family on the left and I went to the right where there was nobody in front of me. Then the CM dropped the ropes before the preshow began outside where we were, and I scooted down to front row center stage. There were a bunch of seats with a red resereved cloth over them more to stage right which were saved for the kids and their families who were participating in the show and for other families visiting with the MAW foundation. But my side was clear except for 2 seats right in the center. Now I remebered what happend at WDW in MGM when they had the Doug show and I got seats like I did tonight and the two reserved seats were where Doug and Skeeter sat right next to Sarah so I was hoping that she would get to sit next to Mickey but that didn't happen, no characters sat there. But, for those who saw the show, the seats were great and we even got touched a lot by Ursulas tentacles during that scene. The entire show was fantastic and was a real Hollywood style extravaganza. So now we saw two shows and they were both top quality. After the show we hung out in the main atrium on deck 3 watching the character interaction with all the kids and families. Then Sarah did some pin trading and we bought a few special DCL pins and then off to bed since tomorrow is Castaway Cay. The message light was flashing on the telephne and it was from the concierge saying that they had another gift package for us and would get it to our room tomorrow. Also on the dining room table were 2 picture folders and in each one was a 5 X 7 photo of all the on board characters signed by them. One was to us congratulating us on our anniversary and one was to Sarah congratulating her on her upcoming Bat Mitzvah and they were from the concierge. Wow is all I can say for the treatment so far from the staff. And of course the concierge placed some new cookies on the table as well for us to munch on before bedtime.

Day 11 - Castaway Cay

Once again I woke up real early and snuck over to the verandah and looked out. I saw that there were all these small islands in the distance and then we were approaching what I assumed was Castaway Cay. I grabbed the binoculars and looked all around as we came nearer and nearer. It looked just like all the maps and I was able to recognize all the parts of the island. I was getting real excited and had to wake up the rest of the family to watch us arrive. All of a sudden, I noticed that the water was still around the boat which meant we stopped going forward. Next the boat starts to turn all around and finally begins to back in. We watched every movement of the docking, from the crew over the side getting ready with the small lines to the crew on shore ready to catch them. Very slowly and magically the ship got closer and closer ot the dock until we were adjacent and the crew started fastening the lines. There was no rush today to go anywhere because there was only one place to go. So we lesiurely got ourselves together and headed down to breakfast at Parrot Cay and then back to the room to prepare for the day ashore. We went ashore around 10 AM or so and headed over to the family beach. We just made the tram which dropped us off a whole lot closer to where we wanted to be. I had read that if you dont get ashore early you might not get a good spot nor a beach chair but to be honest, the beach was still very empty and we found a great location under an umbrella and some trees on the beach opposite the large diving platform. The weather was absolutely perfect and definitely swimming weather so Sarah went in immediately. She swam out to the platform and climbed aboard and kept jumping in. All of a sudden I see a woman approaching me from the side and it was Tink1. I wondered what happened to her because she had told me that she was going to be on the same ship with us along with a couple of her associates. Only Melissa wound up coming with her and Tink1 introduced her to us. So we all sat together and then Melissa said she wanted to go snorkeling and asked if anyone else wanted to go. Sarah had never ever done anything like that before and being so overprotected we hesitated but then decided to go with it. So Sarah, Melissa and I walked over to the shack for the equipment and they got their fins and masks and jackets. I had no intention of going in and just sat and watched and wondered if Sarah would go through with it. After 10 minutes or so of Sarah getting ready I thought it was time I cut the cord and I told her and Melissa that I was going back to Susan and Tink1. Susan freaked when I told her that I had no clue where Sarah was and after a while she decided we should walk back around and see where they were. So we went back to where I was originally watching them from and had left their netted bag and we waited and waited and waited. Susan became anxious because it was at least an hour that Sarah was gone but then all of a sudden we saw them coming towards us. Sarah was so excited with a huge smile on her face and said she loved snorkeling and they had gone way out and saw so many fish below them and she even saw the Mickey statue down below and some huge fish just staying still at the bottom. I can't thank Melissa enough for introducing Sarah to this. So we all walked back together to our lounges where Tink1 was talking with some DCL CMs i think, and then we decided to go back on board for lunch instead of eating at Cookies BBQ. So we said our goodbyes for now to Tink1 and Melissa and headed back to the ship for lunch. We stopped at the little shop and bought some Castaway Cay pins and some teeshirts too. After lunch we spent our time onboard and didnt get off again. We started to pack some stuff up and went up to deck 9. Eventually we went and watched the disembarkation lecture and then when we arrived back in the room there was this great big white envelope on the piano from the concierge. Inside was a 16 x 20 inch limited edition Don 'Ducky' Williams commemorative lithograph titled, 'Mickey & Pals Dish Up Fun At Animator's Palate'. It is really gorgeous. Then there was a knock at the door and both Brent and Fabiana are there and they have another gift for us. It was from Tink1 and was a beautiful white anniversary memory box kit from the DCL collection.

Next we prepared for dinner at Animators Palate which was great and then we went to the lobby and saw Mickey and Minnie posing with guests for last night photos and we got some with both of them. Right after dinner the ship began to depart and we began to pull away from Castaway Cay. Also tonight was the night that Captain John was signing any memorabilia from the cruise that you wanted in the Treasure Ketch shop. So I went back to the suite and got the new litho and the other two pics the concierge gave us with the characters sigs on them and he signed them all. We spoke for a while and he was interested in the auto train experience saying he might consider it with his wife one of these days. Then it was time for the show, Disney Dreams, and I again got great seats front row stage right this time and this show was fanatstic as well. We had now seen all three shows and each one was spectacular so I can't really say I had a favorite between them. Now we had to hurry because the notes in our room said that we must have our bags outside the suite by 11 PM if we wanted the CM's to take them off the ship as opposed to our dragging them with us. So we returned to the suite around 10 PM and rushed through everything and just made it at 10:58 as Wembi our suite CM came by to take them away all tagged with a green Tink label. Then we decided to call it a night since we had to have a 6:45 AM breakfast and then disembark right afterwards.

Day 12 - Port Canaveral and Fond Memories

When I awoke Sunday morning and peeked out the window around 5 AM we were already coming up the channel to the port. Wow!!!! Captain John must have opened up all the engines to get back so quickly. It was still dark but we were back in port already and then the thrusters and he was positioning the ship to dock. We had our breakfast in Animators Palate since that was where we ate the night before. We said our goodbyes to Ali, Danjiel and Fortune and then passed through Shutters one last time and bought some phoots from the day/night before. Then it was that time and we headed to the atrium on deck 3 to depart. There, many of the crew stood waving goodbye to us, some with Mickey hands on, and I have to tell you we were teary-eyed to say the least. This was much different then leaving WDW for some reason. I cant explain it, but the feeling was totally different. Of course I am sad when we leave WDW the last day, but here, it was like leaving some family members for the last time. Then we get a porter to help with our bags and he follows us to the car and I load everything up. We head back the way we arrived and go the back way towards Sanford via 417 and then 92 and arrive way too early. So we head towards I4 and wait around in a mall parking lot until we think it is time to get back to the auto train which is only 10 minutes down the road. We still get there around 11 AM and are first. They dont open until much later so we leave our car at the gate and wait in the air-conditioned station until it is time to officially check in. The train left on time but due to Gaston in South Carolina, there was some power outages overnight and we were held up because they had to keep manually switching the tracks and all the trains were delayed. Instead of arriving in Lorton at 9 AM we arrived closer to 2 PM. But our car came off pretty quickly and we headed up north and got home about 7:30 PM after a couple of stops and some Burger King for dinner in New Jersey at the first rest area. I was amazed that we encountered no traffic even in NJ or in NY approaching the Verrazzaon Bridge since we were concerned with the fact that the Republican Convention was starting and we expected massive jams. But no, nothing at all, in fact a better trip then we have ever had coming back into NY especially on a weekday.

So I pull into our driveway and open the front door and collect 12 days of mail that was pushed through the slot and store another magcial vactaion in my memory and heart.

There is no need for final thoughts in this report since I am sure everyone knows that this was a perfect trip and despite a few minor inconveniences the magic was alive and well everywhere we went.

#2 User is offline   QuickGold 

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Posted 18 February 2005 - 01:07 PM

Sounds like a great trip you had Howie. 12 days of Disney is something I'd like to be able to do one day.

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