When I last left you, we had completed our visit to the Grand Cayman Islands, where the kids and Steph had visited the turtle farm. It was a great visit to the Cayman’s and the Cruise was off to a wonderful start. The Fantasy departed the Cayman’s at 5pm Monday night, with our next port of call being Costa Maya, Mexico arriving there at noon Tuesday.
Steph and I didn’t have dinner with the group Monday night because we had reservations to eat at Palo’s onboard the ship. Palo’s is the upscale Italian Restaurant on Fantasy, which requires an addition fee and reservations. I made our dinner reservations a month before the cruise and we were lucky to get them. But it was worth it, the meal was one of the best experiences I have had. I have already bragged about how good the meals and service was in the dining rooms where we normally took our meals. If those meals and the associated service was rated a 10, then on that same scale the meal and service at Palo’s was a 14. It was that much better. Our table was at a floor to ceiling window overlooking the ocean, and while it was cloudy evening those clouds made for a spectacular sunset. We enjoyed a quiet evening meal, where we could speak in a normal tone and be heard. The wait staff was extremely attentive and as I said the food great.
To digress for a moment, in parts one and two I had described in painstaking detail how Cari and Stu chased after autographs and picture opportunities. I need to make a clarification here. Cari had her picture taken multiple times with each character because the characters changed outfits, and each outfit called for another picture opportunity. During the course of the week Cari had her picture taken with Minnie Mouse 5 different times, once in her Officer Uniform, 2 times in Princess outfits, once as a clown and once in her Party outfit. She had her picture taken with Goofy in 2 different changes of cloths and Pluto twice, and then with Mickey himself in two different outfits. So you can see there was a great deal of scurrying about to get to all of these photo ops. And Stu was the Master at it.
The second stop on the cruise was in Costa Maya, Mexico. We arrived at 630am Tuesday morning and departed at 530pm. Costa Maya is on the Yucatan Peninsula, the area was a major center for the Mayan population between 200 BC to 900 AD. Stu, Cari and I stayed on board. Stu and I took care of doing laundry and other domestic God like chores, while Steph and Allison were off to the Chaccohoben Mayan Ruins. It was a scenic bus ride to the ruins, with hundreds of photo opportunities. The girls took advantage of many of these opportunities bringing back pictures of themselves on the steps of the ruins, and majestic views of the ruins. Steph and Allison were very excited by this adventure, with tons of laugh filled stories to share with Stu, Cari and I, and they were quite stinky upon their return. Apparently the bus wasn’t as air-conditioned as they would have liked. After Steph had an opportunity to relax and cleanup we were late for dinner in the main dining room, so we went to one of the less formal more relaxed areas for dinner, again having ocean view seating and a great meal.
Our next was in Cozumel Mexico, we arrived 730am Wednesday morning and departed at 530pm. Allison and Stu excursion that day was a Jeep ride thru the dunes, beach and landscape. They left Cari in our care, so I had the opportunity to seek out characters with her before she visited the Mickey Mouse Club for activities. Also while Stu and Allison were Jeep riding we got to take Cari to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, getting her pirate costume and makeup for the “Pirates of the Caribbean” Pirate Party and fireworks, to take place on the 11th deck amidships at 930pm that evening. So Cari was dress and ready to go at 1pm, for a 930pm party. Bless her heart she managed to stay in costume, and presentable all day long. In addition, we played “Go Fish” and she beat me soundly. Though there was a mirror directly behind me, she may have peeked at my cards LOL LOL, but I doubt it. She just beat me. The kids got back from the jeep ride adventure with plenty of time to spare before dinner. So we had dinner as a family, it was very nice, and Stu and Allison regaled us with stories of their adventure throughout the meal.
After the meal those of us not in costume doffed our costumes and prepared for the on deck Pirate party. Dancing and singing, and Jack Sparrow had to walk the plank. Once Jack managed to avoid the plank, the fireworks began. The fireworks were noisy and cool at the same time. Though not a long show it was still a very good fireworks display. By 1130pm the decks were cleared and most of the party goers had moved on. Steph and I to avoid the rush to the elevators chose to go up to the 12th level Martini Bar where we conversed quietly for about an hour.
Alcohol wasn’t as expensive as I thought it would be, or as expensive as I remember from other cruises on other cruise lines. Disney ran a daily drink special, that was good at any bar or restaurant on board ship, during the entire course of the day. I forgot what the day one special was, but day two was the Bahama Mama, day three was the Yellow Bird, day four Key Lime Margarita (damn good), day five Sunken Treasure, day six was the High Tide, and day seven the Stingray. During the week I consumed my share of Wine (both white and red), Wild Turkey 101, and a variety of Margarita’s. My daughter had her share of most of the daily specials, and some beer drink that mixed a darker beer with I believe a fruit juice, I just really don’t remember. Stu seemed to favor beer most the week, and Steph’s drink of choice was coffee, and then wine (red or white depending), and Cari’s most sought after drink was hot cocoa.
Thursday was spent at sea, and the kids had the run of the ship. There were a ton of onboard activities to keep everyone occupied and smiling. The restaurants, dining places and snack bars were all running at maximum capacity. But part of the under lining current was we were headed towards home. You could almost feel it in the ship that everyone knew there was only one more stop before going back to the Cape. Big events for the day included Family Superstar Karaoke (which we didn’t take part), Mega Jackpot Bingo, and a variety of tasting including wine and Tequila. On the pool decks folks were soaking up that last bit of pool side fun and burn. The water activities were at full throttle. And the water tube was getting a major work out. I would have loved to have done the water tube, but good sense and my portable oxygen unit prevailed. For those that might not know, the water tube is about 200 feet of water slide in a (for the most part) clear tube. From the 12 deck of the ship you had to climb another 20 feet to get to the beginning of the slide. There you got on a raft, and were flushed thru the tube. The tube itself was at the least always 20 above the 11th deck, it was kinda like a roller coaster but not as severe. The ride lasted maybe 25 seconds 35 at the most, and it was used 16 hours a day. During that last day at sea, it was like any other normal Disney ride, there was always a line LOL LOL. It did look cool and if I could I would have been just like the kids, riding it over and over. No one got bored on board and if you did it was your own damn fault LOL.
I believe it was this evening that Allison, Stu and I met at the Tube Bar and played 80’s musical trivia. It was really “name that tune.” The DJ played a minimal amount of the song, (and I mean minimal) and you had to properly name the song and artist, for each correct response you got a single point. 80’s music is not my strong suit, nor Allison’s either for that matter, but of the 25 songs played, between the 3 of use we managed 28 points. I was impressed with our effort. But the fun started when extra points were awarded for doing extra stupid things. From playing air guitar (which I am Champ) to dancing, and just all manner of silly but fun things. We were really too far from the dance floor to get any extra points but we laughed our asses off watching others do all that stuff for a Disney Key Chain. It was a great evening.
We arrived at Disney’s Castaway Cay (Disney’s private Island) at 730am Friday morning, and we departed at 530pm that evening. The kids spent the entire day on the beach at the island, doing all manner of beach things, including the character beach dance party, swimming, eating, snorkeling and the like. I watched them come back onboard with the hoards of others all savoring the last moments of the cruise. Everyone knew (even the little ones) that the cruise was over. We had a wonderful dinner with our group, and said our good byes. We had a group photo of the three families with our wait staff, and said our goodbyes. Everyone had a ton of packing to do, and our bags had to be in the hall way by 1030pm. Steph and I managed to get our bags packed and out into the hall way before the 1030pm deadline. We ended up carrying one additional bag off the ship than we brought onboard so we had a place for all those things you must have.
The Fantasy arrived back at Cape Canaveral at approximately 600am on Saturday the 27th of July. Our last meal was a feast at breakfast that morning. Our group was called to depart the ship at 8am. We were met by a baggage handler who grabbed up our bags (all 10 of them) on a single cart, escorted use thru customs and all the way to the curb, where we were met by our shuttle back to Marriott where our car was parked. The shuttle driver unloaded our bags at our vehicles and the cruise was over. Allison, Stu, Cari, Steph and I all shared hugs and kisses, and all exclaimed how great the cruise was, and how we didn’t want it to end. And we all dredged thinking about going back to our “normal” lives. With one final kiss and hug, we jumped in our cars and headed home. The cruise of a lifetime over, and an item on the bucket list checked off.
As always your questions and comments are greatly appreciated. Please take care, Bill.