Living in a frozen wonderland gets tired in the months of February and March. So, we plan a winter “getaway” every year. It also gives me an excellent opportunity to test sunscreens that I’ll recommend to my patients this year.
“Where do you want to go this year, dear,” I asked my wife. “I don’t know. What about you?” she replied “Disney World,” I said, not waiting a second. “We’ve been there. Let’s go on a cruise,” she retorted “O.K. Let’s do a Disney cruise,” I replied “Are you sure? There’s lots of kids on that boat.” “No, a Disney cruise is for everyone.” “O.K. Just get me away from the cold.” Then I asked my 17 year old daughter, “What do you think about a Disney Cruise?” She said, “Any cruise is good. Can I bring a friend?” “OF course” So it was set. I phoned the Disney help desk, booked two balcony suites for a western Caribbean cruise about the Disney Wonder’ one for my wife and I, and one for our 17 year old daughter and her friend, Christine.
Disney cruises leave from Cape Canaveral – 50 minutes from Orlando. Conveniently, Disney arranges bus transportation from the airport to the cruise ship. So they have most things well in hand.
The Embarkment Procedure
When we arrived at the embarkment center, we were issued into a line. The line moved quickly – ten minutes tops. They checked our identification papers, then sent us to the line to get our “key to the world cards.” Then we were off to the ship. The girls went on to explore. My wife and I waited for the luggage to arrive, which didn’t take long, and when it did, we unpacked. This is one of the best features of cruising – you only unpack once, regardless of the number of destinations you go to.
The ship that does the longer cruises is the Disney Magic.It’s sister ship, the Disney Wonder does the shorter 3 and 4 day cruises.
The moment you cross the gangway, you are welcomed and over the public address system. Each is equipped to provide its 2700 passengers with a full range of services – from bingo to classic Disney Broadway style shows.
And all of the service is provided by thousands of cast members from dozens of countries around the world. For example, our dinner server, Jacob was from the Czech republic and Assistant waiter was Esther from Hungary. Disney makes a point to everyone – its 877 rooms have 25% more space than the industry average.
And the ship is designed to lure adults, teenagers, children and young adults to their areas and activities. My teenage daughter and her friend loved the area reserved for teenagers. It’s called the stack and provided a great area for them to hang out in.
But other activities include a Wide World of Sports Deck (deck 10), a 10,700 foot spa, a children’s club, dining and dancing areas, a movie theatre and a grand stage. But don’t bother to look for a casino – you won’t find one on a Disney ship.
You can never be bored – I dare you.
But there are more activities – for each and every age group
Bars and Lounges
From stylish spots with live piano requests to bars where you can watch your favorite sports event, Disney has a number of options for you.
A not to be missed special event, where you can meet the characters up close. Always held in Parrots Cay, Be sure to bring your camera. Although other options exist to get photos with Mickey, Donald, Goofy and Minny, this is often your best opportunity. Warning – the noise level is high, the atmosphere exuberant. Captains Gala Dress up in your finery to enjoy this event. It’s a great night to get a photo with the Captain, or the first mate.
Pirates In The Caribbean Party
Disney throws a great party and this is no exception. At dinner, everyone wears pirate garb. If you don’t have any- don’t fret – a bandanna will be provided. And after dinner, the part begins. The pool is overlade with a dance floor – and after the dance there are fireworks – Disney is the only ship with fireworks at sea!
Itinerary 7 night Western Caribbean Cruise
Saturday – Check in at Port Canaveral Terminal. Aboard by 4 p.m Sunday ‘Ashore Keywest at 11 Aboard by 7:30 Monday – Full day at sea Tuesday Ashore at Grand Caymen at 7:30 am Aboard by 4:30 pm Wednesday – Ashore at Cozumel at 9:30. Aboard at 6:30 Thursday – Sea Day Friday – Ashore at 9:30 at cast away Cay Aboard by 5:30 Saturday – disembarkation
The southernmost tip of the United States – and only 90 miles from Cuba. Discovered by Ponce de Leon in his search for The Fountain of Youth, Key West has always been the favorite place of writers like Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, and Robert Frost. Harry Truman also loved this place and had a “little white house” here. Excursions – Sail, and Snorkel Tour Every island has something like this. The sailing and snorkeling is what the Caribbean is about. Old Town Trolley or Conch Train Tour A solid 60 minutes takes you through high points. Best used as a guide to see things in more depth later. Butterfly Conservatory A great place to discover the Secret life of butterfly’s Pirate Soul Museum The true story of the pirates of the Caribbean Key West Shipwreck museum While we were there, the treasure of a 15th century Spanish galleon was there.
If you’ve ever dreamed of a perfect, private tropical island, Disney has recreated it here. Disney has secured the rights to the soul use of this tiny island which measures 3 miles long by two miles wide and all but 10 percent are left intentionally undeveloped. But of course, Disney has lots of things for those who want to be active – biking, beaching, snorkeling, parasailing and simply loafing in a hammock. There are secluded beaches for adults, teens and families. The day we were there was supposed to be cool, but we went anyway and it turned out to be a perfect day – a little too hot because our daughter developed a bad sunburn. She knew better – she’s been in the tropics before. My wife and I treated ourselves to a couple’s massage in a private cabana, a nice touch for our last day
Grand Cayman Island
In 1503, Columbus was blown to these islands by a storm. Then, he was greeted by 1,000’s of turtles. Subsequently, it became a British isle and still remains a protectorate of Britain. The most amazing feature is its great Coral Reef. In fact, it is one of the top dive sites in the world. And if you shop there – stay away from items made of black Coral or turtle – they are both endangered species. The highlight of our trip there was a visit to “Stingray City” where you can frolic with these amazing creatures. Tame as a house pet, you get to feed them squid, ride them and pet them
The largest island in Mexico, it rates high for scuba diving ever since Jacques Cousteau discovered the reef in the 1960’s. Another treat is this is one of the few places you can frolic with Dolphins. And you can go mainland to see Tulum, a truly amazing Mayan site,. Who goes Cruising With Disney Families of course but others also love it. In short, this cruise is for Disney followers – those who love everything Disney.
“Stephanie, did you like it?” I asked “Loved it,” she said, “I just didn’t like the assigned dining. The teens club was amazing though.” “Did you, Lucie? ” I asked my wife “It was OK but I liked Princess Cruises better.”