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The Wilson Family cruise

#1 User is offline   rob_wilson 

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Posted 25 October 2004 - 07:26 PM

Chapter 1: Delta dawn

Thursday, October 21:

The alarm goes off at 3 AM. Yes, there is actually a 3:00 that isn't PM. Who knew?

Anyway, we got up super early in order to catch a 6:15 AM flight. It wasn't easy getting all of the grumpy people out of bed at that hour, but I managed to get my wife up anyway. :content:

We arrived at the airport with plenty of extra time. After making a quick mental note of where we had parked the car (so that we could forget it later), we made our way to the ticket counter. We used the kiosk to get our tickets printed out and dropped off 3 of the 6 bags we were lugging around. I had been carrying 2 of the 3, plus 2 others, so I was more than happy to see them go. :herc:

Next, we're off to security. Other than having my video camera go through twice (I didn't realize I had to take it out of the camera bag), we encountered no real delays here. Finally we went down to the gate where we had a quick bit of breakfast courtesy of the food that Debbie had stuffed in one of the bags (so THAT's what I've been lugging around).

We flew from Louisville to Atlanta and then changed from one Delta flight to another to go to Orlando. Other than a flight delay leaving Atlanta, we had no real problems with the flights. The bus ride was fairly calm, too, and we made decent time. We arrived at the port by maybe 12:45 pm. We made our way through security and into the port terminal.

We encountered only one problem while checking in. We had brought with us what we had thought were everyone's birth certificates. Apparently, we do not actually have our son's birth certificate and what we had brought was instead a certificate from the hospital that was just worth slightly more than nothing. However, after filling out a form confirming that he was in fact born and not made of clay, we completed the process that would allow us to enter the ship. Other things that bear mentioning here: 1) they informed us that our room wouldn't be ready until 1:30 or so and 2) they gave us a letter that explained about all the precautions they were taking to protect people from getting sick during the cold and flu season. I'm something of a germaphobe, so this letter made me a bit nervous, but I appreciated it nonetheless.

Next we entered the boat and, being famished, made our way to Deck 9 to eat at Beach Blanket Buffet. We all really enjoyed the food, especially since there were lots of choices to be had at the buffet. Once we were done with lunch, we went to Wave Bands, where a table was set up taking reservations for Palos. Palos is the adults-only restaurant that has an additional charge of $10 per person and requires a reservation. The restaurant sits at the top of the boat, giving diners a romantic look out at the ocean, but more on that later. By the way, when the Cast Member booked our reservation on his computer, he apparently saw some indicator telling him that I had won the trip, as he congratulated us on being prize winners. He didn't mention the WWTBAM-PI! show itself, so he may not have had the details. This was the only time that any of the Cast Members made comment about the win.

When we were done with the Palos booking, we decided to drop off our excess bags at our room and that's where things took a turn for the worse.

(To be continued)
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#2 User is offline   TrendyMagic 

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Posted 25 October 2004 - 11:25 PM

Quote

they gave us a letter that explained about all the precautions they were taking to protect people from getting sick during the cold and flu season. I'm something of a germaphobe, so this letter made me a bit nervous, but I appreciated it nonetheless.


This probably come from that big ordeal last year of that outbreak on may ships.

Awaiting the rest of the report... :|
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#3 User is offline   disneyprincess 

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Posted 26 October 2004 - 06:28 AM

TrendyMagic said:

Quote

they gave us a letter that explained about all the precautions they were taking to protect people from getting sick during the cold and flu season. I'm something of a germaphobe, so this letter made me a bit nervous, but I appreciated it nonetheless.


This probably come from that big ordeal last year of that outbreak on may ships.


Yes, it is, we got the precautions letter and the little signs in all the bathrooms as well.
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#4 User is offline   Tinkerbell2004 

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Posted 26 October 2004 - 07:15 AM

can't wait to hear the rest



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#5 User is offline   QuickGold 

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Posted 26 October 2004 - 12:20 PM

rob_wilson said:

The alarm goes off at 3 AM. Yes, there is actually a 3:00 that isn't PM. Who knew?

My flight is also uber early and suspect I'll have to get up around 3. Personally, when it comes to Disney, I don't care how tired I am.

rob_wilson said:

Other than a flight delay leaving Atlanta, we had no real problems with the flights.

Stupid Atlanta :P

rob_wilson said:

We encountered only one problem while checking in. We had brought with us what we had thought were everyone's birth certificates. Apparently, we do not actually have our son's birthy certificate and what we had brought was instead a certificate from the hospital that was just worth slightly more than nothing. However, after filling out a form confirming that he was in fact born and not made of clay, we completed the process that would allow us to enter the ship.

:blink: Does everyone need ID?


Great TR Rob! :)
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#6 User is offline   rob_wilson 

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Posted 26 October 2004 - 12:24 PM

QuickGold said:

:) Does everyone need ID?


Yes

You will need a passport and/or birth certificate for each member of your party.

You will also need photo ID for everyone 18 and older.

Rob
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#7 User is offline   QuickGold 

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Posted 26 October 2004 - 12:25 PM

rob_wilson said:

You will need a passport and/or birth certificate for each member of your party.

You will also need photo ID for everyone 18 and older.

Ooh, good to know. I'm gonna post a few questions about DCL in general in another thread so be sure to keep your eye out for it now that you're a DCL expert
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#8 User is offline   rob_wilson 

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Posted 28 October 2004 - 06:07 PM

Sorry it has taken so long to get back to this. Things have been a bit crazy at home and work. Anyway, let's see how far I can get tonight...

Chapter 2: Out of the Hot Seat and into the fire

Thursday, October 21:

When we last left our halpess hero and his family, they were about to stop by their now ready room in order to drop off their excess bags...

Let me back up here just a second. As most of you already know, I had won this cruise from the Who Wants To Be A Millionaire-Play It! show. As such, I had told my wife that the room would likely not be one of the larger ones on the boat, but since it really wasn't costing us anything (except taxes and such), I would be willing to pay the difference to get an upgrade. She said not to worry about it that the room would be fine. So, what happens when we get to the room? Exactly, she starts griping up a storm at how small the room is! :roll:

Yes, as soon as we get into the room she starts complaining about the room. I think one of the things that really upset her was that she seemed to expect a larger bathroom. For those of you who haven't been on the cruise before, the room had two bathrooms, but they were each about the size that you would find on most airplanes. One bathroom had a sink and toilet, the other had a sink and shower.

While she was disappointed by the room, I was expecting the room to be fairly small so it didn't take as much time for me to get acclimated. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the porthole/window was extremely large. I grew up on '70s and '80s television, so I was expecting a porthole no bigger than my head, like what they generally showed on The Love Boat.

Another thing that she didn't like was the bed situation. It appeared at first that they expected 3 people to sleep in the main bed and one to sleep on the couch that converted into a cot. This was because of the relative sizes of each and the pillow placement. We learned later that above the couch/cot was a bunk bed that dropped down from the ceiling.

Oh, remember too that at this point we still hadn't received our larger bags that we checked at the airport. There were to be delivered by 5 pm, so now that my wife was seeing how things weren't the way she had hoped with the room, she naturally starts to get upset thinking that we wouldn't have our bags in time to change clothes for our 6 pm dinner reservation we had made at Palo's.

Anyway, we then heard announcements about some type of shopping meeting that was to be held at the Buena Vista theatre. Since we had nothing else really to do at the time, we figured we would check it out. It turns out that the meeting consisted of one woman with the gift of gab who told about all the wonderful duty-free bargains to be had in Nassau. She went on and on about everything and told you where to shop and what con games to watch out for while exploring the island. Since I wasn't particularly even interested in walking around in downtown Nassau, nor was my son, we just sat and listened and hoped it would be over soon. My wife and daughter, who did want to walk around in Nassau, acted more bored than we were however. So, when the show was finally over and we left to sign the kids up for the Oceaneer's Club, I naturally had to listen to all of them griping the entire walk there.

We signed the kids up and made arrangements for them to take the kids a few minutes earlier than their starting time of 6 pm to give us time to walk to Palo's. They seemed to be anxious to check things out and the play area certainly seemed to have plenty for them to do. So we made our way back to the room and rested up a bit before getting changed for dinner. It was at this time the my kids first figured out about the TV in the room which included 6 stations that played the same movies all day long. This was in addition to a station that played a series of classic Disney animated movies and another station that played a series of modern Disney movies. One of the 6 stations played Shrek 2 repeatedly and another played Spider-Man 2 repeatedly. So, naturally one of the kids wanted to watch Shrek 2 over and over while the other wanted to do the same with Spider-Man 2.


Begin of EDIT

Don't know how I left out such an important detail earlier, but hopefully I can rectify that situation now through the magic of the Edit option. Somehow I forgot mention the actual beginning of the cruise, that is, leaving the dock. We were up on Deck 9 to watch the boat leave port. My son's teacher was vacationing nearby at the same time and had told us that he would be waving to the boat as we left. Sure enough, as we moved away from port, we spotted a group of people holding up a large sign. There was a single word on the sign, our son's name. I think that may have been the single biggest highlight of the entire trip for him.

Other than that, the only other thing to mention here is that in this more environmentally friendly world we live in today, we were not to throw things off the boat like the streamers and confetti you see thrown off cruises in older movies. Despite this, one family were spraying some type of foamy confetti out of cans. Not certain what it was made of, so maybe it was safe for the environment, but I thought it was in somewhat bad taste.

Now back to our regularly scheduled story, already in progress.

End EDIT

Anyway, now off to drop the kids off at the Oceaneer's Club and then on to dinner.

(To be continued)
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#9 User is offline   rob_wilson 

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Posted 28 October 2004 - 07:03 PM

Chapter 3: Any Palo yours is a Palo mine

Thursday, October 21:

As I believe I mentioned in Chapter 1, Palo's is an adults only restaurant. All of the main dinner restaurants on the ship have dress codes. No jeans, shorts, and such. Palo's, however, is the most formal of the restaurants. Debbie wore a black dress while I wore slacks and a jacket. With the normal dinner restaurant rotation of Parrot Cay, Tritons, and Animator's Palate (not necessarily in that order), the waitstaff follows you from one night to the next. However, since Palo's sits outside of that rotation, we only saw this particular waiter the one night. He introduced himself and got our beverage orders. Since we don't imbibe, Debbie ordered water with lemon while I had a Coke.

The waiter also brought a variety of breads along with three "sauces" to use for dipping. I favored one made with mayonaise while Debbie seemed to prefer one that was a bit spicy. We then had our appetizers. I believe she had a salad while I sampled the Minestrone. We had a great view of the ocean and the setting sun while we dined. Of course, once the sun went down, there wasn't too much to see.

Our entrees arrived after a bit and we both enjoyed a Filet Mignon along with various vegetables. After getting as much of that down as we could, while still saving a bit of room for dessert, the waiter returned with the dessert menu. He recommended the chocolate souffle, which Debbie ordered. I don't particularly care for chocolate, so instead ordered some type of vanilla custard which was heavenly. Once we were ready to burst, we signed the bill leaving a tip (remember, this restaurant is outside the regular rotation so billed differently) and headed for the Oceaneer's Club to pick up the kids so that we could catch the 8:30 pm show at the Walt Disney Theater.

During dinner, we were able to forget a bit about the bickering that had gone on earlier in the day, but now we were forced to deal with it again. Our son eagerly returned to us in order to see the show, Hercules - The Muse-ical. Our daughter, however, wanted to stay with the kids and refused to come with us. We decided that she would just make us all miserable at the show if we drug her against her will, so we decided to let her stay telling her we would be picking her up at the end of the show.

We arrived at the theater in time to get a good seat near the back where I got my video camera ready. You were not allowed to take flash photographs, not that that stopped people, but there were no videotaping restrictions which was nice. I haven't checked out the video yet to see how well it came out, but at least I should be able to enjoy some of it again. The show pretty much followed the script of the movie, but with a lot of pop culture jokes thrown in along the way. The guy playing Hades was having too much fun with some of the humor, but he managed to keep it fairly clean.

After the show was over, we picked up our daughter and returned to our room. It was at this point that we actually figured out about the bunk bed since it had been brought down into position. We also had chocolates left on our bed, though this would be the only night that would take place. Anyway, we got cleaned up a bit and turned in around 10:30 or so as it had been a very long day for us. Just before turning out the lights I did make an appeal to them to not continue the bickering into the rest of the trip. I had hoped that we could enjoy the rest of the trip without all the strife. :sleep:

(Next up - Day 2)
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#10 User is offline   TrendyMagic 

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Posted 28 October 2004 - 09:13 PM

Busy first day. And you did warn them about the room.... 8)
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#11 User is offline   QuickGold 

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Posted 29 October 2004 - 03:20 PM

:study: Great report Rob. I like the effective use of humor in them :cantbelieve:
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#12 User is offline   rob_wilson 

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Posted 30 October 2004 - 09:15 PM

Chapter 4: Day 2, Me 0

Friday, October 22:

We awoke in the morning a bit disoriented as this was the first time we had ever awoken on a ship. I had planned to get a shower before going to breakfast, but that plan changed quickly when we learned that our shower was only offering cold water. Because of that, we decided to put on some clothes and head to Beach Blanket Buffet for breakfast. On the way out, we ran into our Stateroom Host and we told him about the shower. He checked it and came to the same conclusion that we had, there was no hot water. He promised to get it taken care of and we headed on to get breakfast.

The buffet was great. They had a large variety of breakfast foods and a separate bar full of pastries, muffins, and donuts. My favorite item was a rounded glazed donut filled with white cream. We all ate our fill and then went back to the room in hopes of freshening up. Sure enough, we had hot water now. The strange part was after we got our showers there was a knock on the door. It was our Stateroom Host coming to fix the shower. He seemed confused when we told him that it was working fine.

By this time, we had made land in the Bahamas. I wasn't terribly excited about getting off the boat in Nassau, but my wife and daughter wanted to go. So, we got out our room keys and photo IDs and made our way down the gangplank. The section of Nassau we saw was pretty much what I had expected it would be. There were small stores lined up and down every street. The streets themselves were quite narrow and there were a lot of vehicles moving around. I'd advise extra caution in crossing the streets, though chances are if a car is coming up on you fast it will stop in order to ask you if you need a taxi. We must have been offered taxi rides at least 30 times during the hour and a half or so that we were in Nassau. That doesn't include the number of times we were asked if either of the women wanted to get their hair braided. I found it a bit annoying, but my son was the one who couldn't stop complaining about being out in the heat.

After purchasing a few souvenirs, we headed back to the ship for lunch. In order to minimize the complaints, we chose to go back to Beach Blanket Bingo figuring that there would be enough selection to appease everyone. Well, everyone didn't include our daughter. She griped because we had eaten there for breakfast, even though the menu choices were naturally quite different. Despite that, we managed to get through the meal before I was forced to remind everyone that we were supposed to be having a good time and that all this bickering was working against that. I asked them to please try to enjoy themselves. With that in mind, we went out to the deck to participate in a round of BINGO.

There were pay for play type BINGO games every evening on the ship, but this particular BINGO game was free. An announcer came out with a stack of cards much like the travel BINGO cards that you can buy at most retail stores. They had numbers on them and little plastic doors that could be slid over them as they were called. The announcer told everyone that we were to take one card per person. After everyone got their cards, she began calling numbers. She ran a total of 3 games before asking for the cards back. The winners of the first two games each got what appeared to be a frisbee. The winner of the last game won two Muppet plushes, I believe the characters were Animal and Waldorf. The bad part of the story is that at least the last winner cheated, as her family of 4 played on at least 10 cards. So much for one card per person. Afterwards, we turned in our cards and for each card we turned in we got a paper BINGO card that could then be used during the last of the evening games to try to win the rolling jackpot.

After the BINGO games, we decided to go to a lower deck of the ship to cool off. I suggested we go to the Buean Vista Theater to see Around the World in 80 Days. I know it was something of a bomb at the box office, but I have always loved the works of Jules Verne so I wanted to see the picture. Our daughter was back to her complaining, so my wife took her to the Oceaneer's Club and then rejoined us for the movie which was already well underway. As for the movie itself, it was nowhere near as good as the classic version with David Niven, Shirley MacLaine, and Cantinflas, but it was still enjoyable. Jackie Chan was quite funny and there was also an amusing cameo by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Next up: The complaints actually stop!

(To be continued)
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#13 User is offline   TrendyMagic 

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Posted 30 October 2004 - 11:31 PM

Sounds like you should have left everyone at home and just relaxed yourself. Breakfast buffets are my fav.
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#14 User is offline   QuickGold 

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Posted 31 October 2004 - 11:22 AM

I've been to Nassau before so I'm expecting alot along the lines of what you described. How full/empty was the boat when the boat was docked?
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#15 User is offline   rob_wilson 

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Posted 06 November 2004 - 07:15 AM

QuickGold said:

I've been to Nassau before so I'm expecting alot along the lines of what you described. How full/empty was the boat when the boat was docked?


The boat seemed fairly empty during the time we were docked. However, it is a big boat, so I'm sure there were more people on it than what it appeared.

Sorry I haven't posted more of my trip report. Between working and fighting some kind of bug or something this week, I just haven't found the time. I'll try to get back on track as quickly as possible after I return from LA. Of course, then I'll have to post another trip report for my first visit to Disneyland and the That 70's Show taping if you'd like.

Rob
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#16 User is offline   QuickGold 

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Posted 07 November 2004 - 06:55 PM

rob_wilson said:

I'll try to get back on track as quickly as possible after I return from LA. Of course, then I'll have to post another trip report for my first visit to Disneyland and the That 70's Show taping if you'd like.

We look forward to reading your belated trip reports
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#17 User is offline   rob_wilson 

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Posted 21 November 2004 - 09:16 PM

Since Matt will be off to his first cruise in a few days, I figure I'd better get back on track.

Unfortunatley, my memory is a bit rusty now, so I shall probably leave out more of the details than the previous chapters.

Chapter 5: If I go to Tritons, will I get the crabs?

Friday, October 22:

Shortly after the movie, we rounded up our daughter to start getting ready for the night's dinner show. The Friday show is The Golden Mickeys which somewhat mimics the Academy Awards. Before the show, a woman stands outside the theater stopping select guests on their way inside. She then critiques their choice of outfits and asks who they expect to be honored with a Golden Mickey. Of course, she primarily stops children, so most of them respond with Mickey or Minnie.

As for the show itself, The Golden Mickeys is apprently the newest show on the boat. It was cute, but in my opinion the Hercules show was better. However, it was certainly worth checking out and it had some great musical numbers.

Between the show and dinner, we went to the paid BINGO game. We bought the game pack that had 6 cards per game for $35. We also got the game cards we were handed earlier in the day activated. None of it did us any good, as we didn't win a single game. By the way, before the first game, they ask for two volunteers from the audience to verify the BINGO ball numbers. If you volunteer, you get a frisbee or something. I'm not quite sure what it was, as I didn't get up quickly enough. They also drew for door prizes and our luck failed us there as well.

We were now on our regular dining rotation, so after BINGO we headed to Tritons. Since we had went to Palos the first night, we had not yet met the wait staff. As soon as they met us, they immediately starting asking where we had been the previous day. We then proceeded to order dinner. I started with the Pearls of Seasonal Melon while my wife had the Mixed Garden Salad. For the main course, I had the Cheese Ravioli and I think she had the Herb-crusted Sea Bass. They had recommended the Roasted Duck Breast, but being a big fan of Mickey's aquatic friend Donald that I just couldn't bring myself to order that. For dessert, we both had the Creme Brulee. While dinner was very good, it wasn't nearly as good as Palo's.

After dinner, we went to Shutters and looked for some of the photos that had been taken of us during the first day of the cruise. We then went back to the room and got ready for bed. The good news is that everyone was in good spirits at this point and we all enjoyed the show and dinner as a family.

(To be continued)
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#18 User is offline   TrendyMagic 

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Posted 21 November 2004 - 09:20 PM

Glad everyone is a bit happier.
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#19 User is offline   QuickGold 

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Posted 22 November 2004 - 01:04 PM

General Cruise question: What exactly is the deal with the dress requirements for dinner? Dress up every night? Only at certain restaurant? What exactly does dress up mean?
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#20 User is offline   rob_wilson 

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Posted 22 November 2004 - 04:47 PM

QuickGold said:

General Cruise question: What exactly is the deal with the dress requirements for dinner? Dress up every night? Only at certain restaurant? What exactly does dress up mean?


Matt,

You must dress up for dinner every night. Period. However, the level of "dress up" depends on the restaurant. Palo's is the most formal. If you go there, you should wear a suit. You might be able to get by slightly less formally, but when I was there everyone was pretty much in suits.

At the rest of the restaurants (Tritons, Parrot Cay, and Animator's Pallete), it is more about what you shouldn't wear than what you should. No t-shirts, jeans, shorts, etc. So, no tie or jacket is required. You can get by in slacks/dockers and a polo shirt.

Rob
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