As you know, my wife and are big Disney fans and would just as soon go for a long weekend or more than just about anywhere. We are Disney Vacation Club members – sort of a timeshare concept, but much better – so we can go as often as we like. And we do. This past weekend we took our third Disney cruise. They have all been great four-day cruises in true Disney style, but this one will definitely be remembered.
First, the bad part of the trip – it was quite windy on Saturday, and the boat was rocking a lot more than usual. Considering it was the Dream, one of the larger boats that is saying something. It wasn’t enough to make me nauseous, but my wife was glad she had her sea-sickness patch. Mostly it was just a light rock, but several times there was a lot of sway and pushed me to one side or the other.
Disney had decorated the entire ship for Christmas and as expected by Disney, it was amazing. The characters all had Christmas outfits on, and there was Christmas music mixed in with the normal Disney classics. Plus there were special events – like Santa arriving on board and making it snow. Yes, only Disney would make it snow inside of the ship.
Since it is a four-day cruise, one day is at Nassau and one day at Disney’s private Island Castaway Cay. There are no hotels there, and it is an extension of the cruise ship. But, done to the Disney extreme which means there is a place for small children, a family beach, and even an adults only beach. There are plenty of activities for people of all ages including bikes to rent, tubes, stingray feeding, boats to rent, and para-sailing. Just to mention a few.
The food and the service is also up to Disney standards and that is why we are such Disney fans. Because we always know the service, the food, and the entertainment will be amazing. This cruise did not disappoint, and in case you are thinking it’s just for kids – the whiskey tasting (we had to miss) the tequila tasting (we did not miss), or the champagne cocktail tasting (also missed) might change your mind.
But, the thing that made this cruise more memorable for me was the people. A couple of months ago my wife found a group of people on Facebook all going on the same cruise. So, we joined the cruise and interacted with these folks. They all seemed nice, and we did something called a “fish extender” group.
Basically you put up a stocking outside of your door and everyone exchanges small gifts. Each group – I think there were three – had about 15 families in them. So you give 15 gifts – knowing the ages and special likes or dislikes – and get fifteen back. Sounds like a nice idea, especially around Christmas. And it was a lot of fun exchanging the gifts and sneaking over to rooms to drop them off.
But, the really fun part of joining this group was eventually meeting the people. At first, it’s just people on Facebook and you can look at their photos, or read about them. But that doesn’t really tell you who they are. And since it is such a large cruise ship, out of the many people – I don’t know, a hundred or more – in the group, you don’t really expect to meet them or realize what great people they are.
We met people from Kentucky, Nebraska, California, Manchester in the UK, and many other places around the country. We met people who had just gotten married the week before, people on their first cruise, and people who were continuing on to Disney afterwards. People with kids and people without – or at least not on this trip. One who was in a wheelchair and two others who had to use scooters to get around.
On Sunday, Disney has a 5k they run on the private island. It’s not a race although some do run it. I had plans to power walk as I did the last time we were there. But, instead I took it easy and ended up walking with an amazing group of ladies. We didn’t break the land speed records, although Kim tried with her scooter. But, we all finished. Including wheelchair bound Rhian who doesn’t let a wheelchair slow her down.
She has the spirit, good nature, and energy of anyone else I know. And her new husband Seamus is a good man. Although he did not seem to complain too much when I grabbed her wheelchair and took off running. We were both too busy laughing and flying with arms outstretched to care. And at the end of the race, her strong will got her out of the chair so she could put Seamus in it and push him across.
Sandwiched between Scooter Kim, Jalene, Kimmie, Dol, Rhian, and Seamus was the only way to cross that finish line. The Disney cast members were cheering us on also, and handed us each our medals. They may have been plastic, but they were pure gold to me. And will always remind me of this great group of strong, fun, people.
Thank you Disney for a great cruise!!!