Friday, February 12, 2016

Disney Cruise 2015

Believe it or not, we were headed on another amazing Disney Cruise with my family on November 6th. I still can’t believe it! When we went in 2013 it was kind of a one-time-thing. We loved it so much that we had to go again, especially since Kim was back from her mission. Actually, it is thanks to her bringing it up during one of her mission video chats that the plan was set in motion. The stipulation was, however, that everyone pay for half of their ticket. No on had a problem with agreeing to that.

Grandma and Grandpa Gruber were so great and agreed to watch the boys again. That’s right, we were headed on a Disney cruise with a bunch of adults and one high school boy and no children. Call it insanity if you would like, but we call it pure genius and bliss! Yes, there were certainly times when we thought of Charlie and how much he would have loved certain things, but we both agreed that waiting until Charlie is at least five would be a much smarter and enjoyable move. They have an amazing children’s area called the Oceaner’s Lab that he is going to LOVE...someday. They even feed the kids there. One day that will be very fun. In the meantime, we knew the boys would have the best time with Grandma and Grandpa. We had no worries that they were in amazing hands. We left them little gifts for each day, the boys and Grandma and Grandpa, to help keep things fun and exciting. (The pictures they took of the week will be at the bottom of the post.)

I did feel a little guilty leaving on Colson’s actual first birthday, however, we celebrated the Sunday before and he didn't know the difference. That is the beauty of being only one year old. Coincidentally enough, when we left Charlie with the Grubers for our cruise in 2013, Charlie had just turned one year old as well. Apparently that is a good time to go on a cruise, postpartum.

Friday night came and we dropped off the boys at the Grubers then headed to Draper to meet up with my family. We were taking another red-eye flight to Orlando. There were no fireworks this time as we drove to the airport, as it wasn’t July 4th, but that didn’t dampen our excitement for what was ahead of us. If anything we were more excited this time as we knew exactly what to expect. We were headed to Port Canaveral and sailing on the Disney Fantasy again. This time, however, we were headed to the Eastern Caribbean.

Airport sleeping shenanigans

Our first meal, as is tradition, at The Cabanas buffet

The Disney Fantasy

Setting sail

First night excitement:

Since I gave a rather detailed summary of our last cruise (six posts long), I plan to just highlight some of the things that were different this time, or that we especially loved.

For starters, our ride from the airport to the port was anything but ordinary. Last time, my dad had joked about taking a limo ride to the port. The limo turned out to be a big white van. This time, however, after they were delayed due to a broken A/C unit, they showed up with a huge Escalade limo! We were in hysterics as it drove up. We couldn’t believe it. It was so funny and exciting. We stepped into the limo to thumping music and blue light strips. It was great. We were able to stretch out and soak it all on our way to the port.

Our ports this year were St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and Castaway Cay. In 2013 we had a fourth port, so that meant we had one less port this time. But we were actually stoke about that. We love the ship and we were excited to be able to spend another day on it.

Thanks to technology we could text each other while on the ship! It is absolutely amazing. Last time we had Wave phones from the room that we could use to communicate with each other, which was great, but this time we all got Disney apps on our phones that let us text each other individually or as a group. So brilliant! That made things nice as we could kind of play things by ear and didn’t have to worry about planning every little detail. We could go off on our own without the fear of not being able to meet up later. It was so nice. The app also gave a schedule of all of the events going on for the entire week as well as the dinner menu. Pretty sweet!

This time we experimented with playing the game Sardines as a family. It was hoot! It was a great way to really explore all of the ship and kept it competitive. We would designate one level for that round and one person would find a place to hide. The rest of us would spread out and search for that person. As we found the person, we would hide with them. The objective is to not be the last person to find the hider. We had fun, although I’m not sure everyone in my family agreed. My mom ended up having the best hiding place. She stumped several family members.

Pirate Night was especially fun this time because we had our dining in Animator’s Palate. The mood of the dining room was just right as we saw pictures, sketches, and art from different pirate-related Disney movies. Pirates of the Caribbean, Peter Pan, etc. Accompanied with that was pirate-themed music. It was awesome! That night we enjoyed the firework show, as expected, but this time they had this cannon effect that was so cool!

The visiting entertainment this year was a hilarious juggler, a comedic ventriloquist, and a variety act called Buckets and Boards. We loved going to all of their shows. A perk of a Disney cruise is you never have to worry if the adult entertainment is going to be too dirty or inappropriate. It was just right. As expected, Disney movies were constantly being played on the various movie screens and theaters. Two newer movies that we saw for the first time on the ship were Bridge of Spies and Inside Out. We also enjoyed a bunch of Pixar shorts. And of course the Disney night shows can't go unmentioned; you all know how much I raved about those last time. So much fun!

Can't let exhaustion take over at a place like this

Our first port was St. Maarten. It was beautiful and wonderful weather. My dad, Jason, Tyson, Camry, Bryan, and I went on a mountain biking excursion around the coast and through the town. It was pretty fun. Camry and I were worried that our mountain biking skills wouldn’t be up to par, but that didn’t prove to be an issue as the actual “mountain” biking was very minimal and easy to do. After that, we met up with my mom and Kim at Orient Beach. My favorite part of the day was actually body surfing at the beach. It was so fun! Kim chose to do the trampoline on the ocean, so she had a good fifteen minutes to herself doing that. We had a great, sun-filled day.

St. Thomas was our favorite port. It was gorgeous! We loved seeing the houses lining the coast, as well as the green, island peaks in the distance. My dad, Jason, Kim, Bryan, and I went ziplining along the beautiful coast. Such a memorable excursion! We loved it! It was the perfect mix of thrills and viewing the natural landscape of the island. Being up high gave us an amazing vantage point. We did get a little rain, so our view had a little bit of hazy clouds and mist, but even with the clouds it made the distant islands look all the more magical and mysterious. It was cool. My mom, Tyson, and Camry went kayaking. They had a good time. They didn’t allow them to bring any of their belongings so we didn’t get to see any pictures of their adventure.

We had amazing weather at Castaway Cay! It was bright and sunny all day! Last time we had a crazy rain storm and everyone had to be rushed back to the ship early because of lightning. We were thrilled with the weather this time. Again, the food was awesome. My mom, Camry, Kim, and Tyson went parasailing and had a great time. The rest of us rode bikes, snorkeled, tubed, played tether ball, and swam out to the slide. The parasailers also joined us when they were done. It was such a great day!  

Serenity Bay

I loved our port days, and I also loved our sea days! I made it a point to keep it relaxing and I loved it. One of my favorite sea day memories is laying out under the Funnel Vision on Deck 11 falling asleep in the chairs while a Disney movie played above me. I enjoyed endless french fries and chocolate ice cream, day and night! Oh man, I loved it.

As you can see, even my dad loved it ;)

Pretzel Day

Jason and I wanted to get the most out of the ship and our experience so we made it a point to wake up a little bit earlier and not stay up so late. He did a lot better than me waking up in the morning. Those cruise cabins, I tell you, provide for awesome sleep. You can’t tell if it is morning or night unless you look at the clock. That was my downfall. We went to the gym on-board a couple of times; it was fun to take advantage of that. We also made sure to keep our eating portions small. We still ate anything and everything we wanted, but we just ate smaller amounts; that way we were never too full to enjoy our meals or miss out on something else we may have wanted to try. That was definitely the way to do it.

Our room - with a magic portal window: you see what is outside the ship and different Disney characters float/fly by every 15 minutes or so.

Our favorite tile mosaic in The Cabanas

Touring the spa

Jason actually got seasick one of the nights. It didn’t hit him until he was lying down to bed at midnight. The ship was sailing and rocking through a tropical depression that night and by 2:00 am, Jason was throwing up in the bathroom. He headed to the infirmary where a whole bucket of sea sickness pills were laid out. He took some and was finally able to settle down to sleep. Besides that, no one else had problems with seasickness.

For dinner, Jason and I pretty much had surf ‘n turf every night. It was great! Their steak and seafood is so good! Thanks to Kimberly’s efforts and Bryan’s connections, we went a couple of times to The Vibe (the exclusive teen area) to join in on their smoothie hour and get freshly made smoothies and milkshakes. Of course this was just to supplement our constant and endless supply of soft serve ice cream on Deck 11.

Enjoying a cool trick by our waiter, Dejan.

Entrance to The Vibe

Smoothie Hour

As all trips must, our cruise came to an end. That day is always so depressing, but at least we had the boys to come home to. We were anxious to see them and had definitely missed them. Once landing in SLC and waiting to collect our bags we found that Camry’s bag was missing and my bag had been completely hammered. The handle was jammed, the side was bent in, and the wheel had been torn off, exposing a hole into the bag. The airport replaced it with a brand new luggage bag that was actually a little bit better and bigger than the one I had. I was happy with the resolution. Camry’s bag was delivered to her the next morning.

Charlie's Welcome Home sign, thanks to the help of Grandma and Grandpa

Our cruise was absolutely perfect!. It is actually kind of painful writing about it now because I just want to be back there. I want life to just be a Disney cruise all of the time. It is so great! Hopefully we will make it back there again, this time with Charlie.

My cruise post wouldn't be complete without a million additional pictures, so here you go:

From Formal Night:


Semi-formal Night

Fun doors my mom decorated for each of us

The ship was setting up for Christmas

Our waiters, Yanina and Dejan

We never want to say goodbye

And finally, pictures of the boys' stay with Grandma and Grandpa:

As you can see, they had a blast and were in very good hands!
Thank you George and Nancy for making this amazing trip possible!

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