Last week, I went on a Disney cruise.
My entire family went, actually. We all met in Toronto on Saturday and flew to Miami. We got in the night before the cruise, and spent the night at an airport hotel. Amazingly, we were across the street from the back of the airport, but I didn't hear any planes the entire time we were there.
On Sunday morning, we boarded the ship. We got on board around 12:30, and our rooms weren't ready until 1:30, so we went for lunch with all of our carry-on luggage. It was a relief when our rooms were ready.
There were seven of us between the two rooms, and luckily we had adjoining rooms, so we were able to visit freely. There were a few differences from other ships I've been on. First of all, there were two single beds (or one double bed) in each room. There was also a couch, which turned into a third bed, and a pull-down bunk for the fourth person in the room. A curtain divided the couch/upper bunk area from the other beds. That meant the room was larger than some others I've been in.
The second difference was the bathroom. There were two in each room. One had the toilet and a sink, and the second had a shower/bathtub and a sink. The other ships I've been in had one bathroom with a toilet, sink, and shower - no bathtub.
The third difference was the amount of storage in the room. There were lots of drawers and cupboards for clothes.
The rest of the ship had differences, too. there were four different kids clubs - 0-3, 3-11, 11-14, and 14-17, I think. That took up most of one deck. (My niece was in the 3-11 group - she went once, but didn't like it because there was no one her age.)
There were two theatres - one for live shows, and one for movies. (I saw Frozen and Saving Mr. Banks. Both were really well done.) There were three pools on deck 9 - a kids pool with waterslide, an adult-only pool, and a family pool (deeper than the kids pool) right beside the outdoor movie screen, which played older Disney movies. If they had designed the ship strictly to make my niece happy, they couldn't have done better than to create a place where she could watch movies and swim at the same time. (Sadly, Up was on at a time when I was unable to trick my niece into watching it.)
They also had a room specifically dedicated to board games, which allowed my niece to beat me at chess one morning.
And the final difference was that they had three sit-down restaurants, and we rotated between the three restaurants, keeping the same wait staff every night.
We had the 8:15 dining time, which was late, but while other ships had the early dining watch the show while the late seating was eating, and then the late seating watch the show after that, Disney does the show for the late seating while the early seating is eating, and then reverses it later.
The other difference was, of course, the number of children on board. It definitely made for a different experience, and it was hard to find place to sit quietly without going to an adult-only area.
I was surprised at how many activities started at 10 or 11 pm. I don't know how they were, because that is far too late for me. Even character appearances were happening after I was in bed.
(And on that note, the character appearances were a big part of the entertainment. Since I wasn't really interested in that, I missed the variety of activities found on other cruise lines.)
And back to the restaurant - the first night, I asked if there were peppers in the food I was ordering, and my waiter went into full allergy alert - which would be good if I were severely allergic, but trace amounts are fine, and it was a pain to have to pre-order my food for the next day every meal.
So anyway, we left Miami on Sunday. Monday was a day at sea, and Tuesday we went to Cozumel, Mexico.
|Mayan Ruins, Cozumel|
|The thatched roof is to protect the ruins|
We went to see some Mayan ruins. They were interesting (as was our guide) but I wish I'd heard more stories about what the ruins might have been used for. (He did share some, I just wanted more.)
After the ruins, we went to tequilla tasting, then the Discover Mexico Cultural Center. The tequilla tasting was interesting, but the cultural center was disappointing. I'm not sure whether it was that we passed through the building quickly en route to lunch, or whether there just wasn't much there.
They did do a demo of people swinging from ropes, but I don't know why they do that or what it is supposed to mean, unless it's a life insurance-selling scheme.
After our tour ended, we wandered through the shops of Cozumel. It's a bartering town, which I love, and I bought my niece a charm bracelet and a few other things.
Wednesday we were at sea again, and Thursday we went to Disney's private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay.
Four of us decided to do a kayaking expedition, which was fun (although it's a hard position to sit in for an extended period of time).
While we kayaked, the other three went to the beach, and we joined them after our expedition.
Friday was the end of our cruise, and we decided to do a hop-on, hop-off tour with the ship. The big advantage was that they would store our luggage for us, so we wouldn't have to drag it through the city.
We did the city tour, but unfortunately didn't have time to do the beach tour as well. We made our way to the airport and checked in, only to find our flight was delayed.
And then we got on the plane, and listened as the pilot came on and explained that when the plane was refueled, they'd put the fuel in the wrong tanks, and the engine couldn't read the fuel level or use that fuel, so they had to transfer it. (Question: why would you put fuel tanks on a plane if the plane couldn't use any fuel in those tanks? Something isn't right there.)
We got into Toronto late.
In fact, we landed after our Ottawa flight took off, about 45 minutes before the Regina flight left. We made our way through customs and went to the Connections desk, only to find out that we'd all missed our flights.
The Regina group was given hotel rooms and replacement tickets for Sunday night (2 days later), and Wanda and I were given tickets for Saturday morning and told we could try to fly standby at 10 on Friday night if we wanted to.
My niece was devastated, and everyone started scrambling trying to make other arrangements..
Wanda and I went and got food with the vouchers we were given, and miraculously got seats on the Friday flight. We made it home around midnight - only about 17 hours after we got off the ship.
The Regina group got up Saturday morning to get back to the airport to try for standby flights. One of them made it only the first flight of the day, and the rest made it home late last night.