Monday, January 28, 2013

Day 1 continues

   Disney Cruise offers many in stateroom gifts that you can purchase to have ready for you when you arrive to your stateroom on the first day of your cruise. The following link shows these:
 Bekki won the following in stateroom gifts:
Let's Cruise Package
 - A 5-piece travel desk set completes the package: stapler, staple refills, tape, and LED alarm clock.
Let's Cruise Package
Item 2170, $39
Commemorate your cruise with this decorative memory box and desk set. Designed to hold your cruise mementos, the memory box also includes a mini photo album and Captain Mickey picture frame. A 5-piece travel desk set completes the package: stapler, staple refills, tape, and LED alarm clock.

Entertainment Bundle
 - Grab your tunes and get the party started with this portable speaker system.
Entertainment Bundle
Item 2171, $28
Grab your tunes and get the party started with this portable speaker system. Pack the sleek Disney Cruise Line backpack with everything else and you're ready to amp it up poolside or at the beach.

Family Fun Pack
 - There's a little something for everyone in this jam-packed goodie bag.
Family Fun Pack
Item 2172, $56
There's a little something for everyone in this jam-packed goodie bag. A sleek Disney Cruise Line back pack is stuffed with an array of gifts, including exclusive Disney Cruise Line waterproof playing cards (includes card holders), and two 25 ounce Disney Cruise Line water bottles.

Bon Voyage
 - An opulent selection of Champagne and praline-mix chocolates. Martinelli's Sparkling Cider is also available.
Bon Voyage Package
Item 1301: Korbel Brut, $43
Item 1302: Iron Horse, $62
Item 1303: Martini & Rossi Asti Spumante, $35
Item 1304: Martinelli's Sparkling Cider, $25
Leave shore in luxury with an opulent selection of Champagne and praline-mix chocolates. Martinelli's Sparkling Cider also available.
The bottle that Bekki received was the Martini & Rossi. We have not had a lot of sparkling wines, but it was nice.

Bon Voyage
 - Surprise your loved ones upon arrival with a decorated stateroom & celebration cake.
Bon Voyage
Item 1200: Bon Voyage Stateroom Decorations, $49
Surprise your loved ones upon arrival with a decorated stateroom. Package includes:
  • 1 cascade
  • 1 banner
  • 1 centerpiece
  • 1 door magnet
 As you can see from the previous post pictures these were already in our stateroom. It made for a nice welcome. It didn't hurt that they all were free!

   After looking over all the stuff Bekki won, we looked over the Personal Navigator for the rest of the day. I can hear all of you saying to yourself right now: "what is a personal navigator?" well let me explain.
Personal Navigators are about 8"x11" and layout everything that is going on on the ship for that day. Click on the pictures below to get a larger view. We have posted all of the daily navigators on a Disney cruise line dis board, if you want to view them click on the link, and scroll the page until you see a post from pinkibekki(this is Bekki's username on the disboard)

While Bekki was still looking over the navigator, i was excited to start hanging our door magnets. Door magnets you ask? Ok i will explain. I am not sure how it all started, but a lot of people that cruise on the Disney ships will adorn their stateroom door with different themed magnets. It is fun walking down the halls of the ship and seeing other cruisers doors, although our hall on this cruise was not very festive. Only a few other doors were adorned, and i can safely say that ours was the best looking door in our side of the ship!
    I had originally purchased magnetic paper and was going to print the door pictures on them, but when i called staples, and fedex/kinkos they informed me that they can not print on magnetic paper. I was going to use a friends printer but that fell through(no fault on the friends part). So Bekki said that we should just go to Staples and have them print the pics out and we can add magnetic strips to them. We had them printed on card stock and then laminated. We were able to do all of this at Staples, they have nice tables set up in their print center with everything you need to cut out the pics. After completing our art project, we headed to Walmart to get the magnetic strips. Staples was way expensive for theirs.Walmart was only $4 for ten feet of it:
 Brittany wanted to hang the magnets, so I let her have at it. They came out awesome! Here are some close up pictures of the magnets:

The Bon Voyage magnet on the bottom of the door was part of the Bon Voyage gift set mentioned above. 
  As you can see we were in stateroom 6108 which is a Deluxe ocean-view stateroom with verandah. It was located a little past mid ship towards the aft of the ship.It was really nice to be near the aft of the ship when it came to going to dinner since most of the restaurants are located aft. The room has a split bathroom. Split bathroom you ask. It means that the tub/shower is in a separate room from the toilet. Each section does have a sink and vanity mirror, which is very handy when one person is showering the other person can still get ready in the other room putting on makeup and such.
   A few pictures from our verandah:

 The lifeboats were located right below us, but when they are stored the actually can not been seen when you look down from our deck. This one was being lowered for the muster drill so people can see what the inside looks like. One of the nice touches is the fact that the lifeboats are designed after the old viking ships. They are the best looking lifeboats at sea. In my humble opinion. Although i guess it really doesn't matter what they look like when you are in them. But as an ascetic feature they look nice.  

 The mandatory muster drill was being held at 3:45pm. On the inside of the stateroom door it shows the location to meet in the case of an emergency. This is were we were to meet at the time of the drill. You do not need to have on your life vests during the drill, but they do ask before going to the drill that all guest try on their vests, which are located behind the sliding closet door, top shelf. This is a good thing to do before going to the drill in case you need a larger vest or smaller one, you can notify the crew at the drill. The drill was painless and it was almost time to head up to see the Adventures Away party. This was being held on deck 9 at the Goofy pool, but we headed up to deck 10 starboard side above Goofy pool. When we got there festivities were already under way.

    They were also showing the party on the large screen that is on the outside of one of the two funnels, located above the goofy pool area. This is a really cool screen that the also show movies on all day, and a late movie at 10pm.

                                    Bekki and Britt(in one of her many cute "im gangsta" looks)
 As the party was hoppin', i decided to walk around the area and photograph a little. Mickey silhouette on the funnels i thought were cool. Even cooler at night.

 As i was walking around I went near the stairs to which the characters descend  to get to the "stage" near the Goofy pool, guess who I catch awaiting his cue? MICKEY!!!!
                                             Christian our entertainment cruise director

                                                                    Bekki, Ian ,Britt
   Disney does a great job at getting the cruisers all in a great mode and you are even more excited to set sail. During the show they get the kids involved on stage and really make it a great experience. The party flew by sooo fast and it was that time to start counting down for us to set sail. 5...4...3...2...1.. and then you here the ships horn signaling our departure. Now it is not just any horn sound, its "when you wish upon a star", now stupid me i was so caught up in everything i forgot to tape the horn sound. But here is a good video of it:
Just a little fact: the Disney Magic and Wonder ships, Disney's first ships, are actual horns, but their 2 newest ships, Dream and Fantasy, are digital horns. Which is cool cause the digital ones can do other songs. Just for fun here is a  link of the Dreams melodies:
   I have to admit when I heard the horn in the flesh, I started to get teary eyed. I know what you are thinking, and yes my man card is no longer valid.
    The ship started to move and we were leaving the port on our way to Grand Cayman. I walked around a bit and took some pictures of us leaving Miami:
 This pool is for cast/crew members only and is located, well i think you can guess where it is :-)
                                                              A Carnival ship ahead of us

                                                           One of the ships anchors

                                         Okay I had no idea how busy the port of Miami is

               We headed back to our room to unpack. Since we have the second dinner seating, which is at 8:15pm, we were going to the first show at 6:15. Ok, a little about how Disney rotational dinning works. This is for dinner only, and  depending how many days your cruise is, you may dine at a restaurant more than once. Our rotation was: Animators Palate(show dinner), Parrot Cay, Triton's,  Animators Palate, Parrot Cay. Our table was #65, and during the whole cruise during dinner you sit at the same table number. During breakfast and lunch who can go to any restaurant that is serving breakfast that day. Just check your navigator to see which ones are open for lunch and the times they serve till. If you do not feel like eating at a restaurant for dinner then you can go to the other fast food services.  Another feature that is unique to DCL, is the fact that for dinner you have the same head server, server, and assistant server follow you to each of your restaurants. This is really fun cause you get to know your servers and they get to know you. So much so they remember what you drink and already ask if that is what you will like that night. There are two dinner times for the restaurants : first seating is at 5:45pm and second seating is 8:15pm.
         Disney has a feature live show twice a day everyday. They typically last about 45 minutes, except the Toy Story show lasted about an hour. First showing is at 6:00 or 6:15pm so the cruisers that have the second dining seating can see the show. The second show is at 8:15 or 8:30pm, so the first dining rotation can see the show. Just check your navigators to verify the times.
We headed to the show, and along the way i took a few pics

                                                                  I love all the details
         .                                         This is on the threshold of the elevators

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A little about how this all started

  First some history on how myself and Fiance, Bekki, were able to go on a Disney cruise.
My Fiance is a HUGE Disney fan. She played a Disney Cruise Line sweepstakes game from Disney Cruise Line. Well after playing for a few months and her son, Ian, saying to her: "why are you playing that? you will never win" she checked her email on the day that the sweepstakes rules said that they would be notifying the winner This was in October 2012. She knew what the email would be like cause she had contact with a previous winner of a Disney Cruise whom Bekki met on the Disney Cruise Line Disboards. I remember Bekki texting me "I won the Disney cruise!". I texted her back "yeah right!". Well i was wrong and she had won it! The game consisted of finding hidden perks on the ship. Bekki won all the available perks! I will go into these later. We were sooooo excited! I have never been on a crusie before. Bekki had been on a Disney cruise about 13 years ago.

  The trip was for 4 people on the Disney Wonder. Bekki knew she was going to take her two kids, Ian 15, Brittany 13, but I had to convince her to take me. Just kidding. She knew all four of us were going. It was all expenses paid, including airfare from Boston to Miami, where the Cruise ship is docked. Disney booked our round trip flights. Originally they booked us coming back with a layover, and we would not have gotten back to Boston until 10pm. A few days after notifying us of our flights, the lady from Disney Cruise who was taking care of all our plans, called Bekki back and said she found a better flight from Miami to Boston, no stops, and we would be arriving in Boston a little after 5pm. We thought that this was so nice of her. I thought since Bekki won the cruise that the Disney travel agent would not give us the time of day, but she treated us like we had paid for the trip. Well i was soooo wrong! The travel agent was always communicating with Bekki through emails and phone calls.

Jump to January 14th 2013 Day 1
   We were scheduled to fly out of Boston on American Airlines at 8am. Due to a small mechanical malfunction with the oxygen flow, i believe this is what the captain had said, we were delayed 45 minutes. This was the first time that I have been delayed, and it figures its when I am most excited and anxious to get on the cruise. The captain made good time and we arrived in Miami airport only an 1/2 hour late. No biggie. We knew that we had transportation provided by Disney Cruise Line. We went and got our bags and met up with on of the cast members(this is what Disney calls their employees) and she walked us to the Disney bus that would be taking us to the port.
                                                Waiting for the Disney bus at Miami Airport
                                                     On the bus on our way to the port
                                                      Me and Bekki(isn't she soooo cute!)

 Since Disney Cruise Line only started to cruise out of the Port of Miami since December of 2012, there usual home port is Port Canaveral, they did not have the usual Disney Cruise Line bus that has portholes for windows. :-( Oh well!

       It was only a 15 minute ride from Miami Airport to the Port of Miami, when we started to see this:

    Whahoo! We are finally here! We arrived at the port around 1pm. We got off the bus and headed to the Disney Cruise Line terminal. We headed to the main desks and was checked in, pictures taken and handed our Key to the World Cards(KTTWC), which had our names, dining rotation,(some more info on this later) and table number. These cards are your charge cards on the ship, stateroom key, for adults 18 and older along with your state issued ID or Passport your ID going off and on the ship during ports of call. Under 18 they only need the KTTWC for the kids ID. We headed to the gangway to board the ship when we walked past one of the MANY cool touches that Disney has adorned the outside and inside of the ships.
                                            This was on the rear of the ship. Waaay cool!

   It was almost 1:30pm when we arrived at the location before boarding the ship where everyone gets their family picture taken. This is ours:
                                          From left to right: Bekki, Me, Ian, Brittany(Britt)

    We arrive to enter the ships lobby(deck 3), when a cast member asked Bekki our families name. Bekki says "Herrman/Hammar" and the cast member announces our name over the ships PA system. This is something Disney Cruise Line does on all of their ships when families board. Our ship can have over 2,000 cruisers on board, not including the over 1,000 cast members. So i can only imagine how horse the cast members voice can get after all those family announcments.

   The first thing that hits you when you first board is how stunning the lobby is.

    The ships style is art nouveau, which Bekki and I adore. It is very much like the ocean liners of old, one thing the Disney Imaginers wanted to style the ships after. As you tour the ship you will see that they have not left any stone unturned when it comes to this.

  The chandelier that is hanging in the lobby is, in my humble opinion, quite stunning. It is not made of glass but of plastic designed to look like glass.

      When we received our KTTWC they informed us that our stateroom will be ready at 2:00pm. Since that was almost an 1/2 hour before then we decided to hit one of the buffet lunches at Parrot Cay, or Beach Blanket Buffet(BBB). We chose BBB and had lunch not in the dining room but on the adjacent deck. The Buffet was good, we all had a little of everything. The desserts were really good. The view was really nice from the deck, even though it was of Miami. Since we do not leave the port until 5pm we were still docked.
Some pictures of Miami from the Deck of BBB.

                                                    As you can see it was a beautiful day.

   It was about 2pm and we had finished our lunch so we decided to head to our stateroom. Along the way i decided to take some random pictures:

                                    One of the many art works that adorn the walls of the stairwells
                               Thought this was cool, the plague info on where the ship was built
                                                              More original artwork
                                               Our stateroom door before we decorated it
                                                                        More artwork
 As you can see, the stateroom was adorned with all of the stateroom prizes that Bekki won from the Sweepstakes.