Feb 16, 2014





„Are you on a Disney cruise right now?“


I woke up a few times during the night, but given that we both had to get over the 6 hour time change, it was okay. By 6am I could not stay in bed any longer. Tom was awake too, so we got up, Tom was putting on some coffee and I did was I always do, I wandered out onto the balcony. I came straight back in to get the camera. The sun was coming up and it was an absolutely beautiful view.

Tom went to take a shower while I stayed out on the balcony snapping away. Once Tom came back we had “coffee on the veranda” (thanks for letting me borrow that, Cynthia!). And not only coffee, there were still a few of the Krispy Kreme doughnuts left, so we sat outside, soaking up the sun that had come up and enjoying the morning so far. And after enjoying some food on the balcony it was time for me to finish the repacking, and taking a shower, while Tom got himself a snack from the day before’s leftovers.

When we were done there was just enough time to sit out on that balcony for some more time before we needed to say goodbye. By 8.30 we were ready to make the first luggage run. We took our suitcase and our two bigger bags and went down to the car. Once there we were able to load everything into the boot and drive back to the entrance of the villas. We stopped right in front of the main entrance, let bell services know that we would just get the rest of our stuff and then we would leave. They were quite okay with it and told us not to hurry and take our time. Back to the room we went. We got the rest of our stuff together, checked everywhere again and then were heading towards the door.

But, well, wait a moment, one last visit out on the balcony to soak in the scenery again. And then we were finally on our way out. We put the rest of our luggage into the car and got ready to drive away, but then I didn’t know if I had taken all the pics I had wanted to take. So I got out of the car again and walked inside again. The bell service guys commented that it was hard to say goodbye and they were right, but we were on our way to a Disney cruise ship. And after that final visit we now were on our way. But we would not go far, we have a traditional cruise breakfast which I had thought about skipping, but then decided not to. It was too yummy to let it go. So we drove to Downtown Disney, parked our car closest to the bus stop and went to Wolfgang Puck’s Express for breakfast. There was no one in line when we entered and since we already knew what we wanted there was no need to stop and read the menu either. So we ordered our food, got a marker to put on our table and picked up our Diet Cokes. We found a nice table and waited. Didn’t take long and a server came by to greet us and to put some cutlery on the table. It took a little while, and then our breakfast was served.

Tom had ordered the Breakfast Pocket, Scrambled Eggs, Ham, Roasted Potatoes, Red Onions, Mushrooms, Cheddar, which is one of his all time favourites. I had my breakfast favourite, the Breakfast Pizza, Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, Mozzarella, Cheddar, Carmelized Onions. I was in breakfast heaven. We both enjoyed every bite we managed to eat, which means that neither of us was able to finish breakfast. Breakfast behind us we walked through TrenD, but didn’t buy anything. And then it was time to really get going and get on the highway. Traffic was light and with the having Sunpass we made good progress. And then finally after about an hour’s drive, one particular ship came into site and both our hearts skipped a beat.

It is always so exciting to see one of the Disney vessels for the first time before a cruise. Soon enough we were exiting the highway and driving towards the port. We were actually later than usual coming to port, but we did not mind. Once we had reached the first check-point we were directed towards the baggage drop off, right next to the terminal with the words, “Straight ahead for your luggage, well, you know the drill!”, which made us both laugh. So we drove up to the terminal, handed over our three pieces of luggage, tipped the porter and off we went to the parking garage, where we were greeted by the sight of a sign that indicated the price of parking for a four day cruise – 75 Dollars!

But who cares, we were about to embark on another beautiful Disney cruise. We found a spot on the level where the walkway to the terminal is, packed the Owner’s Locker box into the boot and off we went. There is a check-point before you enter the walkway and we were greeted so friendly, we knew we were in for great fun. Then I stopped on the walkway to take one more photo before we boarded and another Cast Member stopped and commented on how beautiful the ship was and if it was our first time. His eyes got really big when we answered that it was our eighth time and we still loved seeing it close up for the first time. And on we went across the walkway and over to the security check point. It was awesome as we could see quite a line on the ground floor, but there was no one approaching the check-point where we were. So we quickly put our carry-ons on the scanner belt and then I struggled with my Camilia bracelet. So the person manning the scanner told me it would not affect the scanner – guess what, it did. So back I went, bracelet off and I went through without a sound. Tom went through behind me and had forgotten to take his cell phone off, so he had to go back too. And then we were finally in the terminal. We usually are so excited to be in there there that we completely forget to take photos and this time was no exception. We were immediately greeted by a super friendly and bubbly DVC representative, who handed us lanyards, took a note of our stateroom number and invited us to the DVC presentation that was going to be held at 2.30.

After that I went to one of the desks to find a health form to fill in and then we bypassed the long check in lines and went right over to the Concierge desk to check-in. All the check-in desks were busy, but it only took a minute or so until one opened up and we were checked in and handed our black lanyards. They are the new kind of lanyards, rather silky, which I had read were not very sturdy at all, so we carefully opened the wrapper and Tom put his card in and we started on the second one. I tried to open the little pouch that is attached to the lanyard and it just was not opening. And when it finally did, it ripped the pouch. I thought about keeping and dealing with it for a minute, but then decided to go back and ask for a replacement of the pouch. They were very sweet about it, telling us that it happed a lot and handed me a new one, even opening it up for me, to make sure, this one worked. Lanyards around our necks we headed back to the line to enter the ship, but just as we set out to do so they made an announcement that another group was allowed to go on board. So we joined the even longer line, but it moved pretty fast and soon our cards were scanned and we were on our way to get on board. But there was still another long line for the embarkation photo. Being on our 13th cruise we have long stopped buying that photo and don’t see any need in taking one in the first place. So we got in line when one of the cast members must have read my mind and asked if we wanted to skip the photo. YES! So she opened up a line to the side for us and let us go through there. And in mere seconds we had passed the photo op and were on the gangway and asked for our names so we could be announced on the ship. Oh, it felt so good to be back on one of the Disney vessels, even if it only was for four nights, we loved it. A cast member came to explain things to us, then right in the middle of his spiel he paused and looked at the lanyards and went on to say, “You have heard that before? Have you got any questions?” We didn’t, so he wished us a pleasant stay on board and we headed over to guest services and got in a short line.

When we made it to the desk we asked about a galley tour being offered and yes there was one, so we picked a time and then it took the cast member a long time to figure out how to print out the tickets. He apologized a few times, but he was new and it was more challenging than he had thought. Tickets in hand we grabbed our carry-ons again and walked one deck down to Enchanted Garden for lunch. Not that we had been particularly hungry. I was still feeling good after my nice WPE breakfast, but it is kind of a tradition to have lunch in Enchanted Garden when embarking on a Disney ship. So we were handed a wipe, then headed to the sign-in desk and were quickly assigned a table and led to it.

As it turned out it was one of the round tables right in the middle of the restaurant. And while we were still stowing our luggage under the table and got comfortable, a server made his way over, explained that this was a buffet and he would bring out drinks for us. So we ordered some Diet Coke and while he was going to get it, we headed over to the buffet. Since I wasn’t really hungry I picked up some tomatoes and some artichoke salad, some asparagus and sugar snap peas, some shrimp and cocktail sauce and a small piece of turkey. Tom picked a little more.

In addition to what I had picked he had some Bressaola, a wrap and a piece of roast beef. When we made it back to the table our drinks were already there and after taking pictures of our food we enjoyed our food. We are both pretty slow eaters, so we might have sat there for quite a while enjoying our lunch. The server was very attentive and quickly brought out a refill before our glasses had even reached the half way point. So, before we left, we tipped him, then headed to one more stop before it would be time to go and check out our new stateroom. So upstairs we went again and to the side entrance of the Royal Palace. They were doing dining changes there and we needed to check if our request had been granted.

So we told them what we were there for and were told to take a seat. And then we saw Zan, one of our head servers from previous years who we had gotten to know quite well during our 11 nights on the DREAM, so well that we even got a special present from him at the end of those cruises. We sat and waited and low and behold we were told to go to his desk when it was our turn. I sat down, he looked up, thought for a few seconds and then said, “Where have you been last summer. We missed you here.” And then went on to call us by name. And this is where they really amaze me. Yes, we had been on the ship 7 times before, but to remember the names and even the server we had had, Ana, is beyond me. I cannot remember my pupils names after the summer holidays, and he can remember the names of two people out of 4000 with a year’s gap in between. Amazing! We just asked if he could confirm that our request had been granted and yes, it had and we had a nice table all to ourselves. We thanked him and since we know how much he likes Milka chocolates, I reached into my bag and pulled out a 3 pack of Milketten, which are rolls of little individual chocolate cups. His face lit up, and I guess ours did to and we said our goodbyes and were off. And with that it was officially time to check out our stateroom. We usually have a stateroom on the starboard side, rather midship and on a higher deck, but this time we had been tempted by the staterooms at the very aft of the ship, which have an oversized veranda. So our excitement grew while we were on the way to our stateroom. We opened the door and the room looked just like every other we had been in until ……. we opened the door to our veranda.

It was HUGE!!! We were in awe. It was really different to those we had had before. We walked up to the railing and looked over the edge and the view was really nice from there. Tom took a few photos and then we returned to the room to check out the gift we had gotten. A lovely zippered bag full with other goodies that we should open a little later. I was quite pleased with it, having seen pictures of it beforehand and I might add that I was very happy we were platinum and had gotten a black one, as it turned out lateron I did not really like the golden ones. Tom peeked out the door and low and behold two of our three bags had already arrived.

We started unpacking and stocked the fridge with the drinks we had brought on board and all too soon it was time to head out again. It was time for the DVC meet. So we walked down to the meet, were again greeted by some super friendly cast members and once inside the room we were looking for a seat. While looking around we were asked if we wanted a drink. Now usually they have Prosecco or Mimosas, but this time it looked like they only had soda. And then we were told what these “sodas” were. I picked what was called a “Coke and rum” and Tom had (I think) “Vodka (or Gin) with Sprite”. To be honest it was the “other way around “ – not Coke with rum, but rum with a bit of Coke. Now these drinks were stiff. None the less we found seats, sat down, took tiny sips of our drinks and then the presentation began. It was actually a very nice presentation with just one “game” thrown in. Then they started their usual routine – who had been with DVC the longest, most add ons, lived the furthest from Florida and so on. They were selling Aulani and asked who had already been and quite a few people raised their hands. They picked someone who talked a bit about the experience and was awarded a nice bag for it. Cool. Then they went on what kind of deals they were able to offer and finally came back to talk about their newest resort, the Villas at the Grand Floridian. We were shown some great photos and Tom and I felt so privileged for having already been able to stay there.

Then they asked IF there was already someone who had stayed there before. Tom and I raised our hands, then looked around and realized we were the only ones. Yeah! And while we were still proud of being the only ones, one of the reps came over and handed us a microphone to talk about the experience.I am not a huge fan of speaking in public, but I had to and so we told them all about how nice we found the rooms, the large balcony, the double bathroom in the studios and the quite bed underneath the TV. Guess what, we won a price for telling them all about our experience and I ended up with a nice large beachbag. Yippie! When the presentation was over we had again missed the DIS meet and greet, so we just headed back to our stateroom. When we got there, the last one of our bags had arrived, so we could unpack everything. But before that we headed out onto the veranda again. When we looked over the railing we could see that the people who had the stateroom directly underneath ours were out on the veranda as well. They were from our DISboards group, so I called down to them and we exchanged a few sentences. They had to very nice and well behaved young ladies with them and so we asked if they were allowed some chocolate and if there were any allergies. Yes, they were allowed chocolate and no allergies, so we told them to wait, went back into our stateroom and found our chocolate stash.

I had brought some wool to tie some things together and now we tied some chocolate onto the string and let it slowly move down to our new friends. The kids were happy and the adults all had a good time. Then there was a knock at the door and we got to know our stateroom host. She was a quiet middle aged lady, who asked us to sign for our present and introduced herself. We told her that we would like to have the sofa bed turned down every night and she made a note of that before she left. A little later we needed to get ready to head out again. It was time for the lifeboat drill. We left our stateroom and were immediately directed towards a Cast  Members only area, where we walked down to deck 4 and entered the Tube through its back entrance. We were then told to go to the other side and join the people waiting over there. And just when we got there they were starting to let people in and checked their stateroom numbers.

Then we were told to move all the way down and grab the first available seat. We did as we had been told and soon enough the presentation of how to don a life vest began. Then we heard the ship’s whistles and were instructed what to do in case of an emergency and soon enough the drill was over and we were on our way back to our stateroom. We unpacked the rest of our things and decorated our door after fixing the Fish Extender on its fish. And when we were done with all that we just relaxed in the room, but just for a few minutes. Tom decided to have a look outside and see if the other ships had already left.

Well, it turned out WE were the first ship to leave and they were already removing the mooring lines. So we quickly headed back into the room to find something we had brought for our sailaway, an Austrian flag. We had seen a lot of people holding posters and flags and Fishlips’ webcam would zoom in on them a bit. So this time we had told our friends that we would hang the flag outside of our balcony and maybe they would be able to spot us, while we were sailing out. We quickly tied the flag to our balcony and that is when we realized that our deck was the only one without the wooden covering on top of the railing. Well, we should learn later that they were renewing them bit by bit.

And in the meantime we were already on our way up the channel. We waved a lot to people in restaurants and along the channel and when we finally got up to Fishlips we waved even more, still hoping that we might make it and would be on the webcam. And while we were still out on the veranda laughing and having fun, Tom got a text from a friend here in Austria, letting him know that we indeed had been on the webcam. Little did we know that he had not been the only one seeing us sail out and recognizing us on the way. A little later, when I was able to check the DISboards there were several new posts on my Pre-trip-report, one of them was named “Are you on a Disney cruise right now?”.

Once we were out in the open seas we sat out on the veranda for a while, then unpacked and around 6pm we grabbed the first lot of our FE gifts and headed out to deliver them. It took us a about an hour to walk all over the ship and when we finally got back to our stateroom we had a few gifts ourselves, which we took inside and then had a closer look at. Our room had been prepared for the night and we had gotten a fun little seal as a towel animal. And soon enough it was time to get changed and head downstairs for dinner. Our first dinner was at the Enchanted Garden. We walked down to the restaurant, got in line and were soon on the way to our table. Our servers were fast to come by and welcome us.

The assistant server handed us a menu and took our drinks order and very soon returned with two Diet Cokes and a basket full of Multi-grain Loaf and Country Current Bread with Chickpea-Garlic Purée. And while we were still studying the menu our server, Mario, paid us another visit to give his recommendations. So we ordered our dinner and nibbled on the rolls dipped into the Chickpea Puree. Mario was quick to return with our starters. Tom had ordered the Applewood Smoked Bacon Wild Mushroom Tart with Creamy Leeks, while I had ordered an old favourite, the North Atlantic Lobster Ravioli, with Roasted Garlic and Sweet Basil in a Tomato Broth. Both dishes were as nice as we remembered them. And as soon as we had finished, our plates were whisked away and we were served some soup. Tom had ordered the Cream of Green Asparagus with Crabmeat and Asparagus tips. And even though the colour of the soup is not really appetizing, it tasted really good. I had chosen to try the Heirloom Tomato Soup, with Sour Cream, Croutons and Basil. It was very good indeed. Soup done, we were served our main courses. Tom had ordered the Slow Roasted Prime Rib, carved and served with Thyme-Roasted Vegetables, Double Baked Potato, Natural Jus and Horseradish. It was a huge piece of meat and perfectly cooked.

I tried the Seared Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Rosti Potatoes, Collard Greens and a Morel Cognac Sour Cream Sauce. And it was as nice as it had sounded on the menu. While we were enjoying our food, Mario was entertaining the children all around our table with his magic tricks. It was great to watch him interact. Then it was time for our dessert. Tom ordered the Warm Sticky Date Pudding, with Butterscotch Sauce, Vanilla ice cream and Philo Crunch. I had a taste and it was really good. I had set on trying an Austrian/Hungarian dessert, the Esterhazy Cake, Almond Meringue soaked in Maraschino Liqueur. And while it was still a nice piece of cake, it was nothing close to the real thing we have here. Once we had finished our meal, Mario came by to ask if we had enjoyed ourselves and to entertain us with one of his magic tricks as well. We then showed him and his assistant server one of our tricks – I pulled some Austrian chocolate out of my D&B wristlet. It was fun to see Mario stunned. And he seemed to be quite happy with his little treat. We said our goodbyes and headed back to our stateroom without any stops at any of the bars. The time change started to catch up with us, so once back in our stateroom we just grabbed a drink out of the fridge and sat out on the veranda, enjoying the night air before we called it a day and went to bed.