Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Cruise Week: Our Magical Cruise Begins

It is impossible to describe the excitement we all felt over our very FIRST Disney Cruise.  We had been looking forward to it for months and finally the time had come.

Our bags were packed....yes we packed WAY to much, but you live and you learn!
(I will be doing a future post on what you should  and should not pack for a cruise)
When you do your online check-in, you will choose a port arrival time, we chose an early one so that we would have more time on the ship.  When we pulled up to the curbside outside the terminal a porter came over to collect our  bags.  You will receive tags that look like these before your cruise and you put them on each bag that you plan on leaving with the porters. The porters will then take you bags, make sure they get put on the ship and they "magically" appear outside your stateroom later that afternoon.  It was nice to board the ship without having to haul luggage with us.

As soon as we walked through the Mickey Ears we had a family photo taken
(more on Shutters another day) and then we were ready to board.

 My kids were cracking me up because they wanted to all step on board at the same time.  So they walked up the gangplank holding hands so that everyone stepped on at the same time.  They counted to three and all jumped on board.  

As we walked through the door, there was an announcer who introduced each family and the other cast members were standing on both sides of the door clapping for your family as you boarded.
 (I wish I had taken a photo, but I was caught up in being treated like a celebrity)

They were already serving lunch when we boarded and we decided to eat first and tour the ship later.  You have a couple of options for breakfast and lunch each day, and then dinner is rotational dining, so you rotate through the three main dining rooms each night.  Your key to the world card will identify your dining rotation and table number at the bottom
(E= Enchanted; Garden R= Royal Court; A=Animator's Palette)

After lunch, we set off to explore the ship.
(I am saving my ship photos for a virtual ship tour post one day this week)

Our family are "character hunters" and we were thrilled with how easy it was to see characters on-board.  When you check-in you are given a Personal Navigator and each night your stateroom host will leave one in your room as well.  Inside you will find a schedule for every hour of the day showing you what activities are planned and what characters will be out.
We immediately found Donald and Pluto and had to stop for a photo

Before it was time to set sail they hold the MANDATORY Muster Drill, everyone on board must report to their station (which is the big bold letter shown by Mickey's foot on the key to the World Card), our station was "L.  Upon reporting to the station you are lined up by stateroom, and then they "take roll".  After everyone is accounted for they go over the safety procedures and explain what to do in the case of an emergency, then they send you off to enjoy the Sailing Away Deck Party.
The Sailing Away Deck Party takes place on the pool deck and is a fun celebration as the ship heads out of the port.  There is singing, dancing and the characters all come out to say Bon Voyage. 

After the party, grab a spot on the rail and watch as your magical cruise actually begins. 

Once we were out at sea, we set off to continue exploring the ship, there is so much to see and we wanted to get our bearings as fast as possible.

All your food in the main dining areas is included in your cruise fare.  The only time you would pay extra for food or drinks would be at the adult only dining locations (Palo and Remy) or when you buy alcohol or specialty drinks (smoothies, special coffees, etc.) Everything else is included.  Basically if you see a price chart you will be charged, but we never paid for any extra food while on board!  So since it was included, we had to stop for a snack of chicken tenders, fries and pizza.

Of course you have to take time to enjoy to gorgeous sunsets while at sea...they will take your breath away!
We chose to do the late dining each night which began seating at 8:15.  By doing the late dining it meant we would go to the early evening shows.  They asked that there be no photography during the shows, so I don't have any photos of them...but I cannot emphasize enough that you do NOT want to miss them.  They are amazing!

Dinner on our first night was at the Enchanted Garden.  I forgot to take photos of the food until the desserts came, but everything was so good.  The best thing about the cruise food was that my kids (and mom, who has texture issues at times) could try something we would not normally try and if we did not like it, they would bring us something else..or if we loved it they would bring us more! 

Micah, my middle son LOVES all things Mickey, but his favorite snack is a Mickey Ice Cream Bar, so he was thrilled to discover that he could have one every night at dinner and we could even order them from room service (for no extra charge).

And this little lady was pretty excited about her ice cream with a Mickey Chocolate in it.

After dinner Jaycee had the chance to meet Ariel and we also took some time for some fun family photos around the Atrium.

This photo makes me laugh, because this completely displays her personality!

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