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May 19, 2014

All Ears 2014 Group Cruise Day 6

Deb's Digest Blog

Big Doin's Goin On, So Let's Get Started!

Today is our 2nd and final Sea Day - so you know what that means? Coffee Tawk at Cove Cafe.

All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

We held a Trading Event later that day. There were Disney pins, Sorcerer Cards, and of course, All Ears trading cards! Everyone was trying to finish their set of 66 AllEars Trading Cards!

All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

Later that evening, we once again gathered at La Piazza for some drinks, conversation and hijinks!!


All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise


All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise


All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise


All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise


All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise


All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise


All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise


All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise


All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

That's it for Day 6. Only one more left, at Castaway Cay!

Be sure to read Gary Cruise's blog for daily updates as well!

May 13, 2014

All Ears 2014 Group Cruise Day 2 - Daytime Fun

Deb's Digest Blog

It's become a tradition on the All Ears cruises to start the first full day, usually a sea day, at Cove Cafe for Coffee Tawk.

It's a great way to start the day..... Even those that enjoy sleeping in somehow manage to make their way for come coffee and friendship.

All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

The Disney Fantasy had plenty of options for everyone to spend their sea day. Folks went to the movies, Palo, the Castaway Club gathering and some just relaxed in the sun.

In the afternoon we had our Ice Cream Social. While it started out with everyone enjoying a cool snack, it soon turned into a trading card meet, once again.

All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise


All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise


All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise


All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise


All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise


All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise


All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise


All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

All Ears 2014 Disney Fantasy Group Cruise

...... and that's just our daytime fun! Next up, formal night and a night at the Piazza!

Be sure to read Gary Cruise's blog for daily updates as well!

November 24, 2013

Disney Magic - Re-Imagined

Deb's Digest Blog

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Disney Magic in Grand Cayman with Tender

My Re-Imagined Disney Magic experience was supposed to begin October 20th, on the first cruise out of dry dock. Fortunately, or unfortunately, that cruise was cancelled. The ship had hit bad weather during the crossing and was not ready for guests. As I learned more about the ships issues, I was almost glad to not be on the very first voyages.

As compensation, we received a full refund (which showed up very quickly) and the option of a free 5 night cruise on the Magic between October and May or a 35% discount on a future cruise. Since we were locals and didn't have airline changes to contend with our cancellation was fairly simple, in relative terms. Turned out we had friends already booked on a November cruise, so we opted to take our free cruise with them on November 15th.

Laura and Lee were on the Disney Magic for the 2 night media cruise. They did a great job documenting the new areas of the ship. So for extensive photos and videos check out their series of blogs about the Magic here: http://land.allears.net/blogs/lauragilbreath/disney_cruise_line/reimagined_magic_2013/.

So, how is the ship, now 3+ weeks since it began sailing again. Overall the ship is in decent shape, but there are still issues.

The parts of the ship that were re-imagined and are finished, look great - Carioca's, Kids areas, Water Play areas, After Hours, Senses Spa and the staterooms themselves.

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However, every day, several times a day, I saw contractors and Disney crew working in cabins on Deck 7 as well as the public areas on the ship. Clearly, there is still work to be done.

We absolutely loved Carioca's. What a huge improvement from Parrot Cay. The restaurant is nicely appointed with soft colors and refreshing decor. They really did a nice job here. The Server costumes were colorful and added to the theming quite well. In addition, we all agreed our best meal in the main dining areas was the South American night in Carioca's. Different foods, new tastes and a huge improvement.

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The Oceaneer Lab and Oceaneer Club - a fantastic redo of an area that had been in bad need of being reimagineed. Technology has advanced greatly since the Disney Magic was designed back in the 90s and the kids area was in desperate need of a rehab. A walk through the kids clubs made me almost wish I was 10 again. Even better is the fact that all kids can roam from the Lab to the Club and back again, no more age separation so siblings and friends can all play together.

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From the amazing Avengers Experience to romping around Andy's Room, these adults remained wide eyed and a bit envious of the new play spaces for the younger set.

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The new Aqua Lab and Aqua Dunk are great additions to the ship, as is the Twist and Spout slide that will accommodate both adults and kids. I saw many families delighting in the Aqua Lab water play area. If there is a downside -- it's very small (compared to the Fantasy and Dream). However, with the space available, they certainly fit a lot in!

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The shaded areas in the adult water area are very nice additions too.

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However there are still areas that need help. We were in a Category 7 Navigator's Verandah on Deck 7 aft. This has always been our favorite cabin/location on the Magic. While our stateroom had new furnishings and upgrades, our verandah was in sad shape. So bad we didn't use it. In a nut shell: the railing was loose and almost fell off in our hands not to mention the masking tape on it in several places, there was often standing water on the floor from a plumbing leak at the railing, most of the verandah appeared to have been scraped for painting that never happened, rust, and the entire area needed to be refinished.

Around the ship we saw areas that needed finishing, areas that had been stripped but not refinished.

Computer problems were also an issue. For instance on the first day we tried to book several of the "tastings", but everything had to be hand written and our tickets delivered that night, once the computers were back up. Same issue with dining. Also, a few times we tried to make a spa appointment, but again, the computers were down, please call back. Even later in the cruise, there were issues in Palo with the computers.

Misc Tidbits:

There is a Character Meet and Greet at the Port of Miami but you have to search it out. Go to the far right end of the check-in area and there may be signs, certainly ask a Crew Member.

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The Aqua Dunk is NOT for the claustrophobic.

Grand Cayman shops are almost all closed on Sundays.

The Duty-Free shop at the port in Cozumel had much better prices for alcohol (scotch actually) than the one in Grand Cayman.

Especially in the lounges, buying a bottle of wine or champagne is a much better value than ordering by the glass. You have the length of your cruise to enjoy it and it can be moved to where ever you are dining. Just like wine purchases in the main dining room. Ice Imperial anyone?

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Each lounge has a different selection of adult beverages including, wines and scotchs.

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Palo Brunch is as yummy as always.

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It's fun to visit with the characters, even if you are an adult and doing it by yourself.

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Make sure to visit with Captain America!

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One last important cruise reminder! Even though your bags may only be going from the ship to the port, be SURE to have anything important in your carry-on luggage. One of our group had a missing suitcase for several days.

As I said in the beginning, we enjoyed our cruise but the Disney Magic is still a work in progress.

Leave your comments/questions and I will do my best to answer what I can.


April 16, 2013

Come Sail Away - Announcing the 2014 Disney Fantasy AllEars Cruise

Deb's Digest Blog

Greetings everyone! On the last AllEars group cruise, May 2012 Fantasy Eastern Caribbean, I said I would host another in 2014.

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(Throughout this blog are photos from the May 2012 Group Cruise!)

All Ears 2012 Group Cruise

We polled all the cruisers from that 2012 sailing and the majority spoke - Sail the Disney Fantasy again this time on a Western Caribbean cruise! So we are - and the date is May 10, 2014!

All Ears 2012 Group Cruise


All Ears 2012 Group Cruise

We will depart from Port Canaveral and sail to the ports of Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Jamaica & Castaway Cay.

All Ears 2012 Group Cruise

All Ears 2012 Group Cruise

All Ears 2012 Group Cruise

I am pleased to announced that the AllEars Team of Linda, Barrie and Mel will return in 2014 to help everyone have a great time!

All Ears 2012 Group Cruise

It's important to remember that DCL no longer offers group rates, so the rates are subject to change and historically go up as the ship fills. So the early bird truly does get the best rate! In addition, the rates we are quoting you are the rates currently available from Disney Cruise Line. We do not add any additional charges or fees to be a part of the group. The magical extras are funded by AllEars.net and sponsors such as www.MouseFan.Travel as a thank you for joining us!


All Ears 2012 Group Cruise

All Ears 2012 Group Cruise


For a free quote visit: www.mousefantravel.com/disney-destinations/disney-cruise-line/latest-deals/join-deb-allearsnet-disney-fantasy

Check out the fun from our May 2012 Cruise on the Disney Fantasy!

You can read all about the AllEars Alaska cruise in 2011!

So.................... who's ready to sail ??!!

Join our Facebook Page for the AllEars 2014Disney Cruise!

All Ears 2012 Group Cruise

All Ears 2012 Group Cruise

March 31, 2012

All Aboard the Disney Fantasy Cruise Ship

Deb_banner.jpg

Again? Didn't you just do this Deb?

Yes, again.. allow me to explain. When the Disney Fantasy cruises were announced I knew I wanted to be on one of the first ones to see for myself and get information for you too! I immediately booked the Maiden Voyage (all expenses paid be me).

I never assume I will receive an invitation to a Disney media event. So, I plan accordingly and make my own arrangements for coverage. When I do get invited to a Disney Media event - all the better as there are usually special opportunities and imagineers to talk with. So, when the invitation came earlier this year to be part of the Disney Fantasy Preview Cruise (expenses paid by Disney), I happily rsvp'd!

Since our return on Monday, Deb Koma and I have been blogging to highlight the major differences between the Disney Dream and her newer sister ship, the Disney Fantasy. We also were busy getting menus for the various restaurants.

Now is time for the official Maiden Voyage of the Disney Fantasy. Maiden Voyages can be a mixed bag of sorts. It is going to be the first time the ship is sold out and running the 7 night itinerary. While crew have been fine tuning for weeks now, nothing is quite the same as when 4,000 people are board. The key is patience and flexibility while the kinks continue to get worked out.

This time, Disney did a very smart thing and offered Maiden Voyage merchandise in advance! We are very excited to get our items and hope to wear them at the sail away. For the Disney Dream, this did not happen and well, it was chaotic to put it mildly.

I'm looking forward to having more time to explore the ship, see the shows and experience a brand new ship with friends on board and with you through photos.

Laura Gilbreath and I will be tweeting and blogging as the internet allows.

Hope you'll stay tuned.....

March 26, 2012

Disney Fantasy - "See You Real Soon"!

Deb_banner.jpg

The last night of the cruise, Mickey, Minnie and many Disney Characters invite you to the atrium for a final farewell meet and greet.

It's a great time to get the character photos you may have missed earlier.

Or if you just want a great vantage point for viewing, head up to Deck 4 or 5 midship and look down into the lobby atrium.

Here are a few snapshots and short video of the Disney Fantasy See You Real Soon show!

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DISCLOSURE: As an invited media guest, AllEars' cruise expenses for the Disney Fantasy Preview Cruise were paid by the Disney company. Opinions expressed herein are solely mine.

March 23, 2012

Disney Fantasy Inaugural Media Preview Cruise

Deb Wills and Debra Martin Koma are onboard the Disney Fantasy for the Inaugural Media Cruise. Here are some of the photos that they are sending back from that experience.

Day 1: Friday, March 23, 2012

Approaching the Disney Fantasy
Approaching the Fantasy

One big boat!
One big boat!

Debra Martin Koma heading to the ship
DMK heading to ship

Captain Mickey greets guests in terminal
Captain Mickey

Nearly boarding time
Nearly boarding time

First look at the Atrium
atrium

Almost lunch time
Almost lunch time

Starting with an assortment of fresh salads
Enchanted Garden salad

Lots of scoops in Enchanted Garden
Enchanted Garden ice cream

Deb Koma allows herself one tiny dessert before getting to work
DMK's dessert

Mickey Mouse shape cut from Disney Fantasy steel - original art hand painted
Mickey steel art

Mr. Potato Head in Andy's Room in Oceaneers Lab
Mr. Potato Head

Beautiful new Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique on Disney Fantasy looks amazing!
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique

Cool entrance to the Vibe teen area
Entrance to teen Vibe area

Disney Imagineering Senior VP Joe Lanzisero explains some of the new water features on the Fantasy
Disney Imagineering Senior VP Joe Lanzisero

Daisy Enchanted Art on Disney Fantasy

Standing under the life boats for muster drill
Life boats

Getting ready for sailaway party
Sailaway party

Ready for the Sail away party
Sailaway party

Karl Holz toasts at the sail away party
Karl Holz

Minnie and Daisy in the spotlight at the Sail away party
Minnie, Daisy and Donald

Heading out to sea on the Disney Fantasy
Heading out to sea

We are on our way!
Fantasy departs to sea

Trying to be artistic with my champagne toast. Oops. Sailing away!
champagne toast

Absolutely LOVE the new show at Animator's Palate
Animator's Palate

Sorcerer Mickey starts off Animation Magic show at Animators Palate
Sorcerer Mickey

My (DebK) cartoon (on left) in the show at Animator's Palate
My cartoon

Two awesome vegetarian entrees for dinner at Animator's Palate - shown Farro Stew with hazelnuts greenbeans. A+
vegetarian dinner

Towel art and autographs from Disney Channel stars
towel art

March 21, 2012

All Aboard the Disney Fantasy

Since arriving to Port Canaveral from New York City where the ship was christened, the Disney Fantasy has been sailing cast member cruises to fine tune the ship and it's crew for the Maiden Voyage.

Disney Fantasy


Media cruises will sail on March 23 and 26. Deb Koma and I will be on the Magical Preview Cruise departing on March 23rd!

Fantasy Preview Cruise Docs

Although the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy are sister ships, like the Magic and Wonder, there are many new areas on the Fantasy we will be checking out.

For instance......

--- the new AquaLab for families

Disney Fantasy

--- the new experience at Animator's Palate

Disney Fantasy

--- the brand new WISHES stage show that I was able to preview in December!

Disney Fantasy

--- the Muppets Adventure Game

Disney Fantasy

......and that is just the beginning!

Kristin blogs about how YOU can watch the Fantasy sail off at Jetty Park and wish her bon voyage!!

We will be tweeting, posting on Facebook and of course on the AllEars website.

Twitter follow:
@allearsnet
@allearsdeb
@dcdeb_allears


Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AllEars.net

and of course http://allears.net


We will cover as much as possible but if we don't capture it all, Deb and Laura Gilbreath will be on the 7 night Maiden Voyage on March 31st!


March 5, 2012

Disney Fantasy Sneak Peek - Enchanted Garden and Royal Court

Thanks to our friends at MEI and MouseFanTravel.com we have some photos from the Disney Fantasy Travel Agent tour given February 29, 2012.

Enchanted Garden - located on Deck 2, Midship serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Inspired by the opulent gardens of Versailles, Enchanted Garden magically transforms from day to night.

Enchanted Garden

Enchanted Garden

Enchanted Garden

Enchanted Garden

Royal Court - located on Deck 3, Midship aboard the Disney Fantasy that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Inspired by the classic Disney films Cinderella, Snow White and the Seven Drawfs, Beauty and the Beast and Sleeping Beauty, the décor and atmosphere of Royal Court is especially beautiful.


Royal Court

Royal Court

Royal Court

Royal Court


March 2, 2012

Disney Fantasy Sneak Peek - Dis and Dat

Thanks to our friends at MEI and MouseFanTravel.com we have some photos from the Disney Fantasy Travel Agent tour given February 29, 2012.

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Buena Vista Theatre

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Enchanted Art

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Disney Fantasy Sneak Peek - The Cabins

Thanks to our friends at MEI and MouseFanTravel.com we have some photos from the Disney Fantasy Travel Agent tour given February 29, 2012.

Standard Ocean View Cabin

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Family Ocean View Cabin

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One Bedroom Cabin

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Disney Fantasy Sneak Peek - The Adult District Europa

Thanks to our friends at MEI and MouseFanTravel.com we have some photos from the Disney Fantasy Travel Agent tour given February 29, 2012.


First up, Europa, located on Deck 4, Aft of the Disney Fantasy, is a nighttime entertainment district exclusively for Guests ages 18 and older and is home to a variety of sophisticated lounges and nightclubs, including La Piazza, Skyline, O'Gill's Pub, Ooh La La and The Tube. From the whimsical to the cosmopolitan, each venue in Europa is distinctly inspired by the very best in European travel.

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The next two photos are of the tile work in the ladies and men's rest rooms in Europa.

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La Piazza - Inspired by picturesque Italian cities and their decorative plazas, La Piazza is the perfect place for adults to relax after an action-packed day.

Here, you'll feel as though you've been transported to Italy, thanks to charming touches that include:

The colorful bar, which is modeled after a vintage carousel and offers refreshing cocktails and beverages

Romantic couple's booths designed to let you reconnect with your loved one

Italian décor, including Venetian masks and a classic Vespa with a sidecar

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The Tube is a trendy nightclub located on Deck 4, Aft in the Europa district on the Disney Fantasy. Exclusively for Guests ages 18 and up, The Tube offers adults an action-packed night of fun, dancing and signature drinks.

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May 19, 2011

Disney Wonder Final Sea Day Alaska - Disney 'Round the USA and Canada -- May 9, 2011

May 9th - our final full day on the ship. Where DID the time go?! A fair number of us had gotten on board back in LA on April 26 and here we are 13 nights, 6 ports of call and one glacial fjord later.

There were many things I thought about doing, but decided to just take it easy, get packed and enjoy our AllEars Alaskan Farewell Party.

The AllEars Alaskan cruisers were a great group of folks and I really enjoyed getting to know everyone. It was fun at night talking to everyone about the explorations of Alaska that day and what was planned for the next day. We all did very different things - from fishing and crabbing, to ziplines and snow shoe'ing, to panning for gold to having a great time on board the Disney Wonder - and everything in between!


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Everyone had a wonderful time.

For the Farewell Party, hosted by MouseFanTravel, we had did drawings for the Hidden Mickey Quests, giveaways and then had a surprise visit from Captain Hook! The real bonus was having our group photo taken with him.

Disney Wonder All Ears Alaskan Adventure Party

Disney Wonder All Ears Alaskan Adventure Party

Disney Wonder All Ears Alaskan Adventure Party

Disney Wonder All Ears Alaskan Adventure Party

Disney Wonder All Ears Alaskan Adventure Party

Disney Wonder All Ears Alaskan Adventure Party

Disney Wonder All Ears Alaskan Adventure Party

AllEars Alaskan Cruisers had the opportunity to enjoy a Hidden Mickey at Sea Hunt! Those who turned in their "reports" were entered into a drawing for Disney Gift Cards. Thank you Steve Barrett for the Hidden Mickey Books and the gift cards!

Gail's name is drawn first.

Disney Wonder All Ears Alaskan Adventure Party

William and Sara also win.

Disney Wonder All Ears Alaskan Adventure Party

Next were special items everyone was able to qualify for including Disney Wonder Alaska items, Club 33 items and even a Totem Poll from the Disney Cruise Line press event announcing the Alaska sailings!

Disney Wonder All Ears Alaskan Adventure Party

Disney Wonder All Ears Alaskan Adventure Party


Disney Wonder All Ears Alaskan Adventure Party

Disney Wonder All Ears Alaskan Adventure Party

Disney Wonder All Ears Alaskan Adventure Party

Disney Wonder All Ears Alaskan Adventure Party

And then our surprise guest arrived........

Disney Wonder All Ears Alaskan Adventure Party

Disney Wonder All Ears Alaskan Adventure Party

Disney Wonder All Ears Alaskan Adventure Party

Disney Wonder All Ears Alaskan Adventure Party

Disney Wonder All Ears Alaskan Adventure Party

Disney Wonder All Ears Alaskan Adventure Party

Disney Wonder All Ears Alaskan Adventure Party

Disney Wonder All Ears Alaskan Adventure Party

Disney Wonder All Ears Alaskan Adventure Party

Disney Wonder All Ears Alaskan Adventure Party

Disney Wonder All Ears Alaskan Adventure Party

Disney Wonder All Ears Alaskan Adventure Party

Disney Wonder All Ears Alaskan Adventure Party

Disney Wonder All Ears Alaskan Adventure Party

Disney Wonder All Ears Alaskan Adventure Party

Disney Wonder All Ears Alaskan Adventure Party

Disney Wonder All Ears Alaskan Adventure Party

Disney Wonder All Ears Alaskan Adventure Party

Disney Wonder All Ears Alaskan Adventure Party

Disney Wonder All Ears Alaskan Adventure Party

Disney Wonder All Ears Alaskan Adventure Party

Disney Wonder All Ears Alaskan Adventure Party

Disney Wonder All Ears Alaskan Adventure Party

Thanks to all for an amazing cruise to Alaska aboard the Disney Wonder!

May 16, 2011

Disney Wonder Ketchikan Alaska - Disney 'Round the USA and Canada -- May 8, 2011

May 8th Ketchikan - which has even more rain than Juneau with over 300 days of rain each year. How amazing, back to back sun-filled days. Again, people in port kept thanking the Disney Wonder for bringing the suneshine!

Arriving into port:

Disney Wonder Ketchikan Alaska

Disney Wonder Ketchikan Alaska

Disney Wonder Ketchikan Alaska

On my way back from breakfast I spotted Pluto!.

Disney Wonder Ketchikan Alaska

On my 2 prior visits to Ketchikan I did the Mysty Fjords Float Plane and Boat Adventure and also tour the Alaskan Rainforest Wildlife Sanctuary. Both outstanding.

Disney Wonder Ketchikan Alaska

For those wondering what the Duck Tour vehicles look like here you go. I did one of these in Seattle a few years ago and it was fun! Certainly a unique way to see the city from land and sea.

Disney Wonder Ketchikan Alaska

Our Cruise Director Christian was outside wishing everyone a great day!

Disney Wonder Ketchikan Alaska

Today's excursion is Lighthouse, Totems and Eagles.

Disney Wonder Ketchikan Alaska

After a 20 minute or so drive in the bus, we arrived at the Air Marine Harbor where we boarded our vessel.

Disney Wonder Ketchikan Alaska

The Captain said we'd want binoculars so we practiced while still docked!

Disney Wonder Ketchikan Alaska

It was a beautiful day on the water.

Disney Wonder Ketchikan Alaska

First part of the ride we learned how to spot eagle nests and saw lots of eagles both on trees, in nests and flying around. While we were at the Loggerville (floating ghost town) there were several sea lions to entertain us.

Disney Wonder Ketchikan Alaska

Disney Wonder Ketchikan Alaska

Disney Wonder Ketchikan Alaska

After a good amount of time eagle watching, we were off to Totem Bight State Park.

Disney Wonder Ketchikan Alaska

Disney Wonder Ketchikan Alaska

Disney Wonder Ketchikan Alaska

Disney Wonder Ketchikan Alaska

Disney Wonder Ketchikan Alaska

I was hoping for a bit more time with the Totem Poles, but we just slowly cruised by.

But before we got on our way, a group of folks came out on their deck to wave hello!

Disney Wonder Ketchikan Alaska

And finally, on to the historic Guard Island Lighthouse. I'm used to east coast lighthouses, this one seemed small to me (height wise). The cool thing was that eagles were atop the lighthouse!

Disney Wonder Ketchikan Alaska

Disney Wonder Ketchikan Alaska

We had a bit more time to enjoy the day on the water before returning to dock.

Disney Wonder Ketchikan Alaska

Time to walk around Ketchikan and get the "tourist" photos

Disney Wonder Ketchikan Alaska

Disney Wonder Ketchikan Alaska

And before we knew it the sky began clouding up and we headed back to the Disney Wonder.

Disney Wonder Ketchikan Alaska

Tomorrow a sea day and our final full day on board.


Here are links to 2 other All Ears Alaskan Adventure Cruisers who are also bloging.

Fellow AllEars cohort Laura Gilbreath and

My next cabin neighbor for this sailing, Gary and Carol Cruise!

May 12, 2011

Disney Wonder Juneau Alaska - Disney 'Round the USA and Canada -- May 7, 2011

May 7th - Juneau - the capital of Alaska with over 220 days of rain each year. WOW! Disney Magical Wonder took place as we had an amazing day of blue skies and sunshine!

Excursions began early today so everyone was up and at em'. Arriving into port:

Disney Wonder Juneau Alaska
Disney Wonder Juneau Alaska
Disney Wonder Juneau Alaska
Disney Wonder Juneau Alaska
Disney Wonder Juneau Alaska
Disney Wonder Juneau Alaska

Previously in Juneau I have done the Helicopter Glacier tour and landed on the glacier to dog sled (one of my all-time favorite excursions anywhere). I have also done the Alaskan Wildlife Sanctuary Tour as well as visited Mendenhall Glacier twice.

Today I chose the Deluxe Tour of Juneau and traveled with AllEars Alaskan Cruisers Jack and Marilyn and Gary and Carol. Our 3 part tour included a visit to Maccaulay Salmon Hatchery, the Glacial Gardens and Mendenhall. Our tour did not follow in sequence with the description in the Port Adventures booklet which was too bad as bear were spotted early on at the Mendenhall Glacier (described in booklet as our first stop).

I wasn't quite sure what to expect but I absolutely loved the Deluxe tour of the Salmon Hatchery. We had an approx. 45 minute tour of the outside and "backstage" areas which was just fascinating. We saw the juvenile stages of the salmon at 1 and 2 years of age. Our tour guide did an outstanding job in explaining the process of the salmon hatchery to us. We later learned that those on the Best of Juneau Excursion, only received a 5-10 minute talk on the Hatchery and did NOT get to visit the "backstage" areas that we did.

We visited the incubation room, saw the one and two year old tanks and much more!

Disney Wonder Juneau Alaska Maccaulay Salmon Hatchery

Disney Wonder Juneau Alaska Maccaulay Salmon Hatchery

Disney Wonder Juneau Alaska Maccaulay Salmon Hatchery

Disney Wonder Juneau Alaska Maccaulay Salmon Hatchery

The Visitor's Center area is cool as well, with a vertical aquarium, a marketplace with some salmon samples and a hands on area complete with a guide. You could touch starfish, sea cucumbers and other sea life!

Disney Wonder Juneau Alaska Maccaulay Salmon Hatchery

Disney Wonder Juneau Alaska Maccaulay Salmon Hatchery

Disney Wonder Juneau Alaska Maccaulay Salmon Hatchery

Disney Wonder Juneau Alaska Maccaulay Salmon Hatchery

The grounds of the Hatchery were pretty cool as well with overlooks, statues and a photo fun op. I really enjoyed this part of our Deluxe Juneau Tour!

Disney Wonder Juneau Alaska Maccaulay Salmon Hatchery

Disney Wonder Juneau Alaska Maccaulay Salmon Hatchery

Next stop was the Glacial Gardens Rainforest Adventure. I wasn't sure what to expect . The Gardens were described as " where botanical gardens meld with the natural temperate rainforest in a unique fashion. Ride a golf cart through the rain forest to an 800-ft scenic overlook of Douglas Island and Mendenhall Valley with the Chilkat and Admirality mountains off in the distance. Then complete your 80 minute tour with tea and pastry service in the Gardens Pavillion (included with your tour). "

The guides at the Gardens were very nice. We were given a history of the owners and how the gardens came to be. The most fascinating elements of the Gardens were the upside down trees. The owner decided to repurpose dead trees by replanting them upside down and covering the tops with flowering plants and vines.

Disney Wonder Juneau Alaska Glacial Gardens

Then it was time to embark on our golf cart tour.

Disney Wonder Juneau Alaska Glacial Gardens

Disney Wonder Juneau Alaska Glacial Gardens

The scenic overlook was quite beautiful and off to the left was the Disney Wonder in the distance.

Disney Wonder Juneau Alaska Glacial Gardens

Disney Wonder Juneau Alaska Glacial Gardens

Disney Wonder Juneau Alaska Glacial Gardens

Then back down the trail to the Gardens Pavilion:

Disney Wonder Juneau Alaska Glacial Gardens

Disney Wonder Juneau Alaska Glacial Gardens

The pavilion area (no idea why I neglected to take photos here), had beautiful colorful hanging baskets. The café was nice but we were a bit confused when no tea or pastry was set out for us. So, we got in line and purchased snacks and beverages from the café. Eventually, a blueberry pastry and tea was set out for us, but it was after the fact and most of us already had paid for goodies.

Even though we received a colorful calendar of the Gardens as we boarded the bus, overall I was a bit disappointed in this part of the tour. I had to remind myself it was VERY early in the season so trees were about all there was to see. The overlook was nice. Had the tea and pastry been set out when we arrived, I would have left feeling more positive.

Now to the last part of the tour and the one I was looking forward to most, Mendenhall Glacier! On my previous 2 visits I didn't have time to take even the shortest, 45 minute tour, so was hoping that with a 90 minute stop, I would have been able to do that.

Disney Wonder Juneau Alaska Mendenhall Glacier

However, upon arriving, our bus driver really discouraged us from doing that trail saying most folks do it in a full 90 minutes and we would probably miss the bus back to the port. I think I could have done it in the 45 minutes decided against it so as not to miss the bus.

The great thing about Mendenhall Glacier is there are many viewing locations, including right at the Visitor's Center.

Disney Wonder Juneau Alaska Mendenhall Glacier

Disney Wonder Juneau Alaska Mendenhall Glacier

I went into the the Visitor's Center and decided to watch the movie which was quite informative with beautiful photographs.

Then it was time to walk around and at least do the short photo trail and walk along the "beach". Lots of AllEars Alaskan Cruisers were also at the Glacier!

Disney Wonder Juneau Alaska Mendenhall Glacier

Disney Wonder Juneau Alaska Mendenhall Glacier

Disney Wonder Juneau Alaska Mendenhall Glacier

Disney Wonder Juneau Alaska Mendenhall Glacier

Disney Wonder Juneau Alaska Mendenhall Glacier

This is a 3d map of the entire Mendenhall Valley. The red arrow points to our location and the Mendenhall Glacier.

Disney Wonder Juneau Alaska Mendenhall Glacier

Disney Wonder Juneau Alaska Mendenhall Glacier

Disney Wonder Juneau Alaska Mendenhall Glacier

And here's a fun one Carol Cruise and I took with my IPad 2 and the reverse camera feature:

Disney Wonder Juneau Alaska Mendenhall Glacier

We had a little time to explore town, however with a 6pm dinner, it was time to head back to the ship we went after a great day of touring.

Disney Wonder Juneau Alaska Mendenhall Glacier

At 6pm, some of the AllEars Alaskan Cruisers were treated to a group dinner in Palo's private room.

Disney Wonder Juneau Alaska Mendenhall Glacier

Disney Wonder Juneau Alaska Mendenhall Glacier

Disney Wonder Juneau Alaska Mendenhall Glacier

We couldn't have asked for a more perfect evening!

Disney Wonder Juneau Alaska Mendenhall Glacier

Disney Wonder Juneau Alaska Mendenhall Glacier

Disney Wonder Juneau Alaska Mendenhall Glacier

Disney Wonder Juneau Alaska Mendenhall Glacier

And to top it off, a few whale pods swam by.. we all rushed to the windows - it was quite exciting!

Disney Wonder Juneau Alaska Mendenhall Glacier

Disney Wonder Juneau Alaska Mendenhall Glacier

WOW - an amazing day - tomorrow our final port of call Ketchikan.

Here are links to 2 other All Ears Alaskan Adventure Cruisers who are also bloging.

Fellow AllEars cohort Laura Gilbreath and

My next cabin neighbor for this sailing, Gary and Carol Cruise!

May 8, 2011

Disney Wonder Skagway Alaska - Disney 'Round the USA and Canada -- May 6, 2011

May 6th - Our first real port of call in Alaska is Skagway!

Skagway is one of the oldest towns in Alaska and is the smallest port of call you will visit on the Disney Wonder Alaska cruise 2011.

Skagway played an important role in the Klondike Goldrush of 1897-98 as people headed north in search of gold. Saloons and gunplay were commonplace. I encourage you to take your time and explore the town which is rich in history. Stop by the National Park Service for a free 1 hour walking tour. The visitor's center has walking tour maps as well.

Disney Wonder Skagway Alaska

As we arrived in port it was chilly and rainy so I was glad to have chosen the White Pass Yukon Railway train ride.

Disney Wonder Skagway Alaska

Disney Wonder Skagway Alaska

Disney Wonder Skagway Alaska

Our ride began in Skagway, at sea level and we traveled to the White Pass Border at 2,800 feet above sea level. It was amazing to watch the landscape change as we headed north and upward.

Disney Wonder Skagway Alaska

Disney Wonder Skagway Alaska

Disney Wonder Skagway Alaska

Sheer drop-offs were not uncommon as we continued on the journey. We were the first train up for the new season and the tracks had been plowed the day before so we could take our ride.

I'll let the photos speak for themselves. A couple were taken in sepia tone, as the white snow and white sky caused lots of white outs on the photos.

Disney Wonder Skagway Alaska

Disney Wonder Skagway Alaska

Disney Wonder Skagway Alaska

Disney Wonder Skagway Alaska

Disney Wonder Skagway Alaska

Disney Wonder Skagway Alaska

The US - Canadian Border!

Disney Wonder Skagway Alaska

Our particular ride did not allow for us to exit the train in Canada. If we did, we would have had to show passports and clear customs.

When we reached the northern end of our journey, the engines separated from the rail cars and did a loop around to what was the back of the train. The seats all flipped to face forward, we changed seats with those on the opposite side of the train and headed back to Skagway.

Disney Wonder Skagway Alaska

Disney Wonder Skagway Alaska

The tour guide told us that by mid June, all of the snow would be gone and the area will be filled with greenery and flowers!

All too soon, our approx. 3 hour journey ended and we were back in town and eventually, back on board the Disney Wonder.

Disney Wonder Skagway Alaska

The AllEars Alaskan Adventure cruisers met up again in Cove Café in the evening to share stories of the day's excursions!

Here are links to 2 other All Ears Alaskan Adventure Cruisers who are also bloging.

Fellow AllEars cohort Laura Gilbreathand

My next cabin neighbor for this sailing, Gary and Carol Cruise!

May 7, 2011

Disney 'Round the USA and Canada -- May 5, 2011

The Disney Wonder is in Alaska in a big way!!

May 5th we visited Tracy Arm. But before that, we had a morning of purpose and fun.

The AllEars Alaskan Adventure cruisers met at 8am for a symbolic Walk Stroll the Planks to raise awareness of Breast Cancer. Once again, I was joined by survivors and a wonderful group of folks. Thanks to all for getting up so early during your vacation to walk!

Disney Wonder Breast Cancer Awareness Walk

Disney Wonder Breast Cancer Awareness Walk

Disney Wonder Breast Cancer Awareness Walk

Disney Wonder Breast Cancer Awareness Walk


After the walk, several of us went to Beach Blanket to warm up and have hot beverages and some food.

At 9:45am it was time for the Character Breakfast in Parrot Cay. I didn't attend the one on the Pacific Coast cruise, so wanted to be sure and make this one. As usual, BalWan and Tita made it a super fun morning!

Disney Wonder Character Breaskfast

Disney Wonder Character Breaskfast

Disney Wonder Character Breaskfast

Disney Wonder Character Breaskfast

Disney Wonder Character Breaskfast

Disney Wonder Character Breaskfast

Soon it was time to enter the Fiord of Tracy Arm. This was a fantasic journey though huge rock carved out by glacial ice. Each turn had something new for us to see. There were lots of ice waterfalls and LOTS of ice chunks in the water. Our view of Sawyer Glacier was outstanding and everyone had a fantastic day.

As with much of our planet's natural beauty, photos do not do the scenery justice - so I guess you'll just have to come experience Alaska yourself!

Disney Wonder Tracy Arm

Disney Wonder Tracy Arm

Disney Wonder Tracy Arm

Disney Wonder Tracy Arm

Disney Wonder Tracy Arm

Disney Wonder Tracy Arm

Disney Wonder Tracy Arm

Disney Wonder Tracy Arm

Disney Wonder Tracy Arm

Disney Wonder Tracy Arm

Here are links to 2 other All Ears Alaskan Adventure Cruiseres who are also bloging.

Fellow AllEars cohort Laura Gilbreath and

My next cabin neighbor for this sailing, Gary and Carol Cruise!

May 6, 2011

Disney 'Round the USA and Canada -- May 2, 3,and 4,2011

I'm going to attempt to catch up with my days on the Disney Wonder. It will be mostly photos - hope that works ok!

May 2nd Victoria Canada. This was one of the stops I was most looking forward too. At one time I had been an avid gardener and have always wanted to see Butchart Gardens. Unfortunately, it was a cool rainy day! That, however, did not deter us! Off we went!

Disney Wonder Victoria Canada

Disney Wonder Victoria Canada

On our way to the Gardens we had a city tour!
Disney Wonder Victoria Canada

Disney Wonder Victoria Canada

Even with the cloudy rainy skies, the Gardens were magnificent. So many blooms and so many colors. I hope to visit again sometime.

Butchart Gardens Victoria Canada

Butchart Gardens Victoria Canada

Butchart Gardens Victoria Canada

Butchart Gardens Victoria Canada

Butchart Gardens Victoria Canada

Butchart Gardens Victoria Canada

Wouldn't you know it, when we returned to the ship, the sun came out 

Butchart Gardens Victoria Canada

May 3rd we disembarked the Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise and re-embarked in Vancouver for the first Alaskan Cruise. The process was not smooth nor were things communicated properly. It was a long frustrating morning which began at 8:30am and we finally got back on board at 12:30pm. Had many of us known how long this process would take, we would all have planned to head into town.

ALL EARS ALASKAN ADVENTURE
We have a great group of folks on board for the AllEars special group sailing.

The weather was awesome and we had a fun sailaway. The ship is not full and it showed at sailaway! Here is when the AllEars Alaska Cruisers met many of their sailing mates for the first time.

Disney Wonder Alaska Cruise Sailaway

Disney Wonder Alaska Cruise Sailaway

Disney Wonder Alaska Cruise Sailaway

Disney Wonder Alaska Cruise Sailaway

Disney Wonder Alaska Cruise Sailaway

Disney Wonder Alaska Cruise Sailaway

Disney Wonder Alaska Cruise Sailaway


May 4th, yes, Star Wars day for SW fans  We had a day at sea as we traveled from Vancouver into Alaska. Because it was the first time the Disney Wonder sailed this route, we could not do the inside passage Northbound and were outside of the calm waters. It was a rough day for many with 8-13 foot waves and moderate gale winds. It also poured rain all day.

Rough Seas Disney Wonder

But there was lots to do on board including Palo Brunch.

The AllEars Alaskan Cruisers had an early meet at Cove Café and we enjoyed time to get to know each other better over nice warm/hot beverages.

Cove Café Meet

Cove Café Meet

Cove Café Meet

Everyone went their separate ways for the day and gathered again in the evening for our pre-dinner meet at Cove Café. It was formal night and many folks dressed up.

Disney Wonder

Disney Wonder

Disney Wonder

We were so delighted to see our request to once again have BalWin and Tita server us was granted!! They are AWESOME.

Disney Wonder

While, I am unable to keep up on a daily basis, here are links to 2 folks who ARE keeping their blogs updated.

Fellow AllEars cohort Laura Gilbreath and

My cabin matges for this sailing, Gary and Carol Cruise!

May 4, 2011

Disney 'Round the USA and Canada -- Where Have the Days Gone??

Obviously I have now fallen behind with my blogs. Today being a sea day, I will try to catch up later on.

In the mean time, here are links to 2 folks who ARE keeping their blogs updated.

Fellow AllEars cohort Laura Gilbreathand

My next cabin neighbor for this sailing, Gary and Carol Cruise!

April 29, 2011

Disney 'Round the USA and Canada -- Friday April 29, 2011

Good morning from the Disney Wonder where it is 5:45am.

We've sailed 384 nautical miles from Los Angeles and will arrive in San Francisco at 7am this morning. Sunrise is at 6:15 and we should be under the Golden Gate bridge shortly thereafter.

It is 50 degrees outside with strong wids. Our boat, she is a rockin big time and sailing right into the wind. We are traveling 11.7 knots right now.

My good friend Laura is doing a great job with her daily blogs, so be sure to read what she/we are up to.

Lots of photos to come later today as we begin our first excursion to Napa Valley! Now I better get dressed and head upstairs for the sunrise!

------------------

Here are photos Deb shared today via her Twitter account:

The beginning of a pinot noir grape cluster
pacific-northwest-cruise1-042911.jpg


Now tasting 3 Domaine Carneros Pinot Noirs
pacific-northwest-cruise2-042911.jpg


Tasting Rose Sparkling Wine
pacific-northwest-cruise3-042911.jpg


Domaine Carneros tasting sparkling wine
pacific-northwest-cruise4-042911.jpg


Domaine Carneros last stop
pacific-northwest-cruise5-042911.jpg

Culinary Institute of America for lunch
pacific-northwest-cruise6-042911.jpg


Cold but fog free morning coming into San Fran
pacific-northwest-cruise7-042911.jpg

Bottling room at Clos Pegase
pacific-northwest-cruise8-042911.jpg


Clo Pegase Winery in Napa first stop
pacific-northwest-cruise9-042911.jpg


pacific-northwest-cruise10-042911.jpg

pacific-northwest-cruise11-042911.jpg

Golden Gate as Disney Wonder passed under
pacific-northwest-cruise12-042911.jpg

April 28, 2011

Disney 'Round the USA and Canada -- Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Deb Wills is off on another adventure -- this time starting at Disneyland in California, then cruising on the Disney Wonder to the Pacific Northwest and Canada (Vancouver), followed by the first Disney cruise to Alaska! She'll be sending photos via Twitter along the way (you can follow her @AllEarsDeb) as much as she is able to -- but for those of you who don't use Twitter, I'll (that's me, Deb Koma) will be reposting the photos here in her blog so you can follow the journey.

Here are the photos and some thoughts she shared on Day 2, Wednesday, April 27:

One of the cool things happening on this Pacific Repositioning cruise are winemaker tastings and dinners. Wines include Iron Horse, Chappellet, Grgich, St. Francis. The Dinner is for a group of 8 in the private room of Palo with the winemaker. Very excited to be attending the St. Francis one later in the cruise.

Our nightly shows are:
All Aboard, Let the Magic Begin
Golden Mickeys
Movie PremEar - Prom
Toy Story The Musical
Disney Dreams
Remember the Magic Fond Farewell

For the first time ever, in our couple dozen cruises, DVC actually knew we were on board and we had a cabin door magnet and gift waiting for us.

Movies in the Buena Vista Theatre include:
Tangled
Toy Story 3
Mars Needs Moms
Gnomeo and Juliet
Tron
Secretariat
Prom
African Cats
I am Number 4


Golden Princess sails out of port LA
deb-wills-pacific-northwest-042711.jpg


Just did sailaway party w/ countdown but don't sail til 6pm.
deb-wills-pacific-northwest2-042711.jpg


Sailaway now at 6pm but decks are filling
deb-wills-pacific-northwest3-042711.jpg


Muster Drill time which means Sail Away soon!
deb-wills-pacific-northwest4-042711.jpg


The beautiful but diesel-smelling port of LA
deb-wills-pacific-northwest5-042711.jpg


Linda is ready to relax at Cove Cafe
deb-wills-pacific-northwest6-042711.jpg


Welcome Aboard the Disney Wonder
deb-wills-pacific-northwest7-042711.jpg


Disney Cruise Line Welcomes Us!!
deb-wills-pacific-northwest8-042711.jpg


We see the Disney Wonder!!
deb-wills-pacific-northwest9-042711.jpg


On our way to the Port - let the cruising begin
deb-wills-pacific-northwest10-042711.jpg


Good Morning from California!!
deb-wills-at-disneyland-042711.jpg


Very special lunch yesterday at Disneyland. Thanks to our hosts!! deb-wills-at-disneyland2-042711.jpg



April 18, 2011

My Next Disney Journey

One week from today, I'll be on a plane headed for the West Coast, to start a three-week Disney journey that will take me coast to coast on land and sea and into Canada and Alaska!

First stop is Disneyland for 2 nights -- gotta get used to the time change before I really get started!

wocpr04tn.jpg

We'll be having a Meet and Greet on April 26th at 9:00am. Meet at the La Brea Bakery Express in Downtown Disney! We have a new AllEars trading card to debut, too! Be sure to RSVP on our Facebook Event Page to receive a special gift when you arrive :)

On April 27th I head over to the Port of LA to embark on the first ever Disney Cruise Line Re-positioning cruise from LA to Vancouver! The 6-night cruise will bring the Disney Wonder ship to Canada for the start of the Alaska cruise season! Joining me will be AllEars® team member Laura Gilbreath (who will be blogging).

wondername.jpg

I have some fun excursions planned including a Napa Valley Tour, a visit to Muir Woods and Sausalito, and then a visit to Butchart Gardens (check that off the "bucket list")

While on board we will have a Walk to Raise Awareness for Breast Cancer on May 1 at 8:00am.

I love being on board when a Disney ship visits a port of call for the very first time. You never know what surprises will greet the ship. The Wonder will be visiting San Francisco, then Victoria and Vancouver, Canada.

Once in Vancouver, several of us will be disembarking and then embarking on the Disney Wonder for the first ever Disney cruise in Alaska! I am excited to be hosting a great group of folks on the AllEars® Alaskan Adventure! In addition to visiting four fantastic parts of Alaska, we have some special events and surprises!

Check out this great logo that Picture This! Photo Blogger Barrie Brewer designed:

AEAlaskalogo.jpg

We will stop at Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway plus tour the glacier bay area of Tracy Arm! I really love visiting Alaska! It will be my third visit to Ketchikan and Juneau and second visit to Skagway. Each of the ports is very different and there is tons to do.

Last visit to Skagway we wandered about on our own, took the one-hour National Park Service walking tour and did a self-guided town tour. It's a quaint place that takes you back to the days of the Gold Rush. This trip I will be doing the White Pass Scenic Railway.

Juneau is one of the ports I could stay in for several days. On my first trip we took a helicopter over four glaciers (unbelievable surreal experience), then landed on a glacier and did dog sledding! We went over to the Mendenhall Glacier on our own. Did you know that Mendenhall is the most accessible glacier in Alaska and the only one accessible via road? It's a must-see if you visit Juneau.

My next trip to Juneau I did a Photo Safari that included a Whale Watching trip and a hike around the Mendenhall Glacier. This time, I will be taking the Deluxe Tour of Juneau, which includes a bus tour of the city, a visit to Mendenhall, a visit to the Glacier Gardens Rainforest, and finally an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the Macaulay Salmon Hatchery!

In Ketchikan we have toured the Alaskan Rainforest, which included some amazing animal (bear) sightings and we've also done the float plane and boat trip of Misty Fiords. This time I will be taking the Lighthouses, Totems and Eagles excursion. This excursion includes a boat ride to see Eagles, a visit to Totem Bight State Park and finally a visit to the Guard Island Lighthouse.

And after the amazing 13 nights on the Disney Wonder I will be flying to Orlando for two jammed packed days of D23's Destination D.

DestinationDwdw.jpg

whew.....


You can be sure I will be twittering and posting on Facebook during my trip.

And remember, Laura will be blogging during the two cruises!

So, for those who can't join us, be sure to follow our journey!

January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

As we enter not only a new year, but a new decade... may the sun rise on a safe, happy and healthy one for you and yours.
Happy New Year!!!



November 2, 2009

Disney Dream - Suites, Pools, Shopping and more....

While at the Disney Cruise Line press event for the Disney Dream, I had the opportunity to speak with Joe Lanzisero, Imagineering Senior Vice President, who oversaw the Imagineering team for the Disney Dream. Joe showed me around the model of the ship and gave an overview of the upper deck and some of the enhancements coming to the Disney Dream.

 Joe Lanzisero

POOLS

No matter who I spoke with, the Cast Member emphasised how the Disney Dream is 40% larger than the Magic and Wonder and so everything was enlarged by about 40%. The same is true for the pools. There are three pools: quiet pool for the adults, the family pool and kid's pool. The family pool and kid's pool are positioned together so families don't feel separated. The kid's pool has the Mickey slide (similar to the Magic and Wonder) with a couple additional turns. None of the pools are covered nor is there a "Solarium" type pool.

Pool and Water Recreation Area

The huge announcement for water activities is the incredible AquaDuck coaster :) More AquaDuck information click here.

Here's a photo of the AquaDuck raft:
 AquaDuck Raft


RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES

Disney officials are being quiet right now about the Recreational Area on the upper deck. When asked if there would be mini-golf or some other type of recreation, I was told there would be a separate announcement about that.

To Be Announced Recreational Area

SUITES

There will be exciting additions to the upper deck. Suite guests will now have their own private area to relax. The deck below is also the suite deck. And the stairs to the left will also take you from the Lounge to the Upper Deck. There will be a private concierge lounge. If you look at the photo, the dome in the ceiling is for the concierge lounge. The lounge will offer private check-in, private buffet, a bar, and a shore excursion desk.

Private Area for Suite Guests

The Walt and Roy suite are located in the front of the ship. If you look at the photo below and you will see two outdoor jacuzzis and that's the Walt and Roy! These 2 suites were designed so the beds have ocean views out to the sea. This photo is from the starboard side of the ship, so it's reversed from the photo above. These two suites will be approx 890 sq. feet and sleep 5.

Walt and Roy Suite


TEEN CLUB

Those familiar with the Magic and Wonder ships may recall that there was a Crew member pool area in the front of the ship. On the Disney Dream, this area now becomes part of the Teen Space! This area will have lounges for sunbathing, two wading pools, fountains, pop jets and misters. The checkboard area are the pop jets. Under the Mickey ears (one deck below) is the Teen Club. They will have cards to swipe that allow only them into these areas. Click here for the Press Release on the Tween and Teen Clubs.
disneydreamdecke.jpg

SHOPPING

The Shopping Area will be enlarged (about 40% as all the areas have been). The Disney Dream will have more of an open promenade shopping area. There will be more than two stores.

BYE BYE INTERNET CAFE

The entire ship will be Wi-Fi, there will be no dedicated internet cafe!

Thank you Joe for spending so much time with the AllEars team!

October 30, 2009

Disney Dream Videos

I have lots of photos and information to share.

Let's start with some videos. There were video screens stationed in various locations (during the press event) that showed a bit more of the artwork.

Here is a video showing the Buena Vista and Walt Disney Theatres.

This one shows the Dining Rooms.

>

And here is the Adult District!

December 19, 2008

MouseFest Cruise Day Four - Part Two

As it has become the tradition, MouseFanTravel hosted a farewell party for all their group cruisers. The party was in Diversions where we were greated with a beautiful array of foods and a cool ice sculpture.

MouseFest Cruise Farewell Party

MouseFest Cruise Farewell Party

MouseFest Cruise Farewell Party

MouseFest Cruise Farewell Party

MouseFest Cruise Farewell Party

It was time to bid farewell to friends we met on the cruise. But, lo and behold, we had just gotten started when a special guest appeared!

MouseFest Cruise Farewell Party

MouseFest Cruise Farewell Party

MouseFest Cruise Farewell Party

MouseFest Cruise Farewell Party

MouseFest Cruise Farewell Party

MouseFest Cruise Farewell Party

MouseFest Cruise Farewell Party

MouseFest Cruise Farewell Party


As the party ended, the early diners went to their dinner and the late diners all scattered. We went to the room to finish packing so we could enjoy the evening.

After dinner we wandered up to Cove Cafe where Matt Hochberg of WDWToday Podcast was broadcasting live.

WDWToday Podcast

WDWToday Podcast

WDWToday Podcast

All too soon, the broadcast was over and it was time to call it a night and call it a cruise!

Another WONDERful MouseFest cruise had come to an end.

Stay tuned in the next blog for MouseFest LAND!

December 18, 2008

MouseFest Cruise Day Four Part 1

Wednesday, December 10th.

Instead of today being a relaxing sea day, we were at Castaway Cay (to make up for not being able to dock yesterday).

Here's a view of the Flying Dutchman from our cabin.

Castaway Cay


The day started early with the 3rd Annual Walk, Stroll, Roll the Deck to Fight Breast Cancer. Each year, MouseFanTravel.com provides a portion of the proceeds of their October (Breast Cancer Awareness Month) sales to my Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. In addition, $5 per person (max 30) who join us for the Annual Stroll is also donated!

For some unknown reason, it seems that Deb can't quite get up in time to make the walk. She sends her dear friend Ms. Dee Vah in her place. A number of folks who strolled this year were new, so Ms. Vah introduced herself.

MouseFest Walk, Stroll, Roll to Fight Breast Cancer

Beci Mahnken, President of MouseFanTravel, then presented Ms. Vah with a check for $1,600 to be donated to Deb's Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Fundraiser!

MouseFest Walk, Stroll, Roll to Fight Breast Cancer

After the presentation, a group photo was taken.

MouseFest Walk, Stroll, Roll to Fight Breast Cancer

The group then strolled around Deck 10!

MouseFest Walk, Stroll, Roll to Fight Breast Cancer


MouseFest Walk, Stroll, Roll to Fight Breast Cancer

Ms. Vah was available for individual photos after the stroll.

MouseFest Walk, Stroll, Roll to Fight Breast Cancer


MouseFest Walk, Stroll, Roll to Fight Breast Cancer


MouseFest Walk, Stroll, Roll to Fight Breast Cancer


MouseFest Walk, Stroll, Roll to Fight Breast Cancer


MouseFest Walk, Stroll, Roll to Fight Breast Cancer


MouseFest Walk, Stroll, Roll to Fight Breast Cancer

After the walk, folks returned to their cabins to prepare for a day on Castaway Cay.

As usual, it was decorated for the holidays. This year, instead of a snow family greeting everyone, there was a sand family.

MouseFest Castaway Cay

Here's LindaLou posing with Minnie in front of the Castaway Cay Post Office.

MouseFest Castaway Cay

The Annual MouseFest Parasailing Meet was 10am. We met at Marge's Barges excited about our adventure.

MouseFest Parasailing

MouseFest Parasailing

Safety instructions are given:

MouseFest Parasailing

14 of us boarded the boat!

MouseFest Parasailing

MouseFest Parasailing

MouseFest Parasailing

I had forgotten my camera so I have no photos of us parasailing. Hopefully others will be sharing.

The boat captain told us we would all have to parasail tandem (with someone else) because of the winds. So, without much delay, we all paired up. Due to the winds the boat pretty much stayed in one place except when a group was taking off. The winds and high seas caused a few folks to well, not feel so good.

Still, we all floated in the sky for a parasail experience and had a great time. The ride back to the ship was much like a Banana Boat Ride. We hit lots of waves and were totally soaked by the time we got to land. We all hooped and hollered and enjoyed the experience (what else were we to do?)

I quickly returned to the boat to dry off and shower!

MouseFest Welcome Home Cruise Sign

Tomorrow, Part 2 of the Final Day of MouseFest Cruising.

August 24, 2008

Deb and Steve Cruise - Almost Time

Deb and Steve Cruise Logo

WOW! We have been planning this special cruise for well over a year now! Steve Barrett and myself are hosting a very special Disney Magic Cruise that begins September 1st. Originally we planned to do a 7 night cruise this fall, but when Disney announced this special 5 night cruise with 2 stops at Castaway Cay, we jumped on it!!

There has been a LOT of planning going on behind the scenes. And with that planning we hope we've included some Magic too.

Deb and Steve cruisers have access to special events designed just for them! Here are just a few of the planned events!

Steve will be doing Hidden Mickey Walk Abouts on the ship as well as hosting a Hidden Mickey hunt on Castaway Cay.

We have a Suite Tour set up for Embarkation Day with our cruisers having the opportunity to tour a one bedroom and two bedroom suite aboard the Disney Magic.

10 lucky folks had their cabin numbers drawn to dine in Palo's private dining room for brunch and also for dinner thanks to special arrangements by MouseFanTravel, the official travel agency of the Deb and Steve Cruise!

Oh and Steve and I are each hosting a boat of 10 folks to go Parasailing at Castaway Cay!!! That's always a special treat.

Oh and I forgot to mention the special dinner at the American Adventure that will be held on Sunday night August 31st! We even have some special magic thrown in for those attendees as well!

This weekend is time to pack the bags and get all the final items organized and ready to go.

LindaLou and I will be headed to Orlando on Saturday so look for blogs starting next weekend.


July 14, 2008

Disney Cruise Line Towel Animals

Certainly you have heard about Disney towel animals! No? You haven't?

Well some time ago (anyone know when this all started with the towel animals ?) Walt Disney World housekeepers would leave little "gifts" for their guests as they cleaned a room. The surprises were made from clean towels and wash cloths and resembled real animals or figures.

Some housekeepers got very elaborate, adding your sunglasses, your plush animals or something you may have left out to the towel animal to add spice! As more guests learned about them, more expected them all the time. My best advice to you about hotel towel animals is -- Please keep in mind these aren't always in your rooms...... look at them as gifts and surprises if you receive them!

Not to disappoint you, but this blog isn't about the resort towel animals but those found on the cruise ship. And, it's become custom to find a new creation each night after turndown service.

Since my last cruise was 15 nights long, I got to see a wide range of creatures that our cabin host left for us. I'll share some of those with you now!

Towel Animal Disney Magic

Towel Animal Disney Magic

Towel Animal Disney Magic

Towel Animal Disney Magic

Towel Animal Disney Magic

Towel Animal Disney Magic

Towel Animal Disney Magic

Towel Animal Disney Magic

Towel Animal Disney Magic

Towel Animal Disney Magic

Towel Animal Disney Magic

Towel Animal Disney Magic

Hope you enjoyed the pics.

Deb

June 1, 2008

Disney Magic Cruise - Port of Los Angeles and Disneyland - Panama Canal Trip - Day 16

May 25, 2008
Port of Call: Los Angeles -- Disneyland Resort

Much as we wanted to sleep in, Linda had to disembark by 7:30am so we were up early. While she got ready, I went up on Deck 10 to watch the Disney Magic come into Port.

The sun was just coming up which made for a pretty sky. It was a beautiful sunrise on the starboard side.


Port of Los Angeles

Port of Los Angeles

Port of Los Angeles

We were escorted in by a boat shooting water fountains.
And greeted by a group of folks waving Mickey Hands and a Welcome Back banner.

Port of Los Angeles

Port of Los Angeles

Back in the cabin I looked at the report from the bridge and wowed at where we traveled the last 2 weeks. Follow the white line from north of Miami Florida to LA California.

Panama Canal Cruise

It was quickly time for Linda to head to customs and Los Angeles Airport. She had a 1pm flight home. I was heading to Disneyland.

Breakfast on Disembarkation morning is at the restaurant you dined at the night before. So, minus Linda and Sharon, the rest of us gathered. For some, it was hugs and teary goodbyes (until we meet again), for others we were headed to Disneyland.

As we were getting our belongings ready to depart, I received quite an amazing surprise! Disney Magic Captain Thord, who I had not met, came up to me and called me by name! WOW! That was an incredible magical moment and I was very honored.

Disney Magic Captain and Deb

Clearing customs was a lengthy process, but we were ready for that. It is quite different from Port Canaveral, so those used to that process will need to adjust. You leave the ship by group (character stickers are provided) and then clear customs withOUT your luggage. Once you are passed customs, you go down to the luggage area. A porter will be available to take your bags outside.

Although this photo doesn't show it, the outside area is small and conjested so keep your group together.

Port of Los Angeles

Before long we were on our van and our way to Disneyland!

Ann, George and I got off first at the Paradise Pier, Beci and Chris went onto the Disneyland Hotel. I had quite a difference experience this time at the Paradise Pier. It was packed in the lobby, the check in area is small, luggage service was SO backed up and the room was not ready. Ok, I wasn't expecting the room to be ready but....

I was staying concierge and the experience is QUITE different than concierge at a WDW resort. For those of you contimplating a concierge stay at Paradise Pier, I would advise you to think again.

First, there was no pre-arrival contact from the resort. At WDW, you either receive a phone call or a letter from the itinerary planning department to assist in pre-arrival dining reservations etc.

Next, there was no separate concierge check in. At WDW, you tell Bell Services you are concierge and are escorted to the club lounge to check in and get some refreshments. Also, if your room is not ready you then have a quieter place to wait and decide what to do next.

At Paradise Pier, there was no such experience and the Cast Member at the front desk actually seemed put out when I asked questions.

Ann and George's room was not ready either, so we decided to head over to the parks. While we didn't plan to go inside, I wanted to show them just how close the hotel was to Downtown Disney as well as the Disneyland and Disney California Adventure park.

Tired as we were, we meandered to the park entrance. It was neat to see their expressions as it was their very first vist. Here they are near the mural of California Adventure. From what I understand, the mural will be going away as part of the extensive rehab scheduled for the park.

California Adventure

When we returned to the Grand Californian, we wandered over to Napa Rose. Dinner tonight was here to celebrate friend's anniversary.

Soon it was time for lunch at Storyteller's Cafe in the Grand Californian Hotel. This is perhaps my favorite sit down restaurant at Disneyland for all 3 meals.

We met back up with Beci and Chris and AllEars team member Linda Mac (who arrived in town several days earlier).

LindaMac and Deb at Storyteller's Cafe in Disneyland's Grand Californian

Also at lunch, the table next to us had 2 AllEars Fans, Walt and Liz, who also happened to be on the Panama Canal cruise!

Walt, Liz and Deb at Storyteller's Cafe in Disneyland's Grand Californian

We hung out more after lunch and then about 3:20 our rooms were ready! YEA!

Paradise Pier Room

It was supposed to be an upgraded room. Ann and George thought it looked the same size as their room, but mine had a make up mirror in the bathroom. It was on the third floor (335) but a patio room. It would have been very convenient for a family who used the pool. My preference is not to have a room on the ground level as I like to keep the curtains open for light and the door open at night for fresh air. If I wasn't so tired, I would have asked to move.

I took a quick 20 minute power nap, showered and was met my friends at the Grand Californian Lobby: Mari, Raleigh, Allison and Lauren. Linda and I had met Raleigh and Mari in 2005 on the Mexican Riveria Disney Magic Cruise. Last year, all four of them were our tablemates for the 11 night Mediterrean Disney Magic Cruise.

Gary and Karen were also part of dinner (as well as Ann, George, Beci and Chris) and also were on the cruise last year.

Allison, Lauren and Mari

Gary and Karen


Our experience at the Napa Rose was VERY disappointing. The food was spectacular the service bordered on horrible. I'll be writing a separate review on our dinner.

After dinner, everyone went their separate ways. We'd be enjoying Disneyland in the morning!

Follow my Panama Canal Cruise and Disneyland Blogs. Beginning entries at the top, for most recent entries scroll down.

Deb

May 25, 2008

Disney Magic Panama Canal Cruise - Final Sea Days 14 and 15

May 23,- 24 2008
Port of Call: The Sea
Weather: Cool and Cloudy

The last 2 days at sea also mean the last 2 days on this magnificant cruise. It was really nice to have the sea days to take time to re-enter "reality" and not have to rush to pack. Just about all other Disney cruises the last day is Castaway Cay, which makes a very rushed evening prior to getting off the ship.

So the final 2 days on the ship.....
We spent Friday enjoying our friends and talked, watched dvds of previous trips and just had a nice relaxing time.

Dinner on Friday was Formal Night. Here are a few pics:

Animator's Palate

Animator's Palate

Animator's Palate

Animator's Palate

Animator's Palate


I woke early in hopes of catching a last sunrise at sea, alas... it was quite cloudy. I did get to see the moon once again.

Early Morning on the Disney Magic

Early Morning on the Disney Magic

Saturday morning we relaxed in the cabin and then had one final meal at Palo's - Brunch.

Palo Brunch Disney Magic

Palo Brunch on the Disney Magic

Time to pack.....we spent a couple hours organizing ourselves. Linda is flying home Sunday as we get off the ship. I will be traveling to Disneyland for 3 nights and then home on Wednesday.

It's hard to summarize the trip...so much has happened and so many memories. After I return home, I hope to write a wrap up to the whole trip.

To everyone who has emailed us and read our blogs - we thank you!!!!! We hope you enjoyed traveling with us via the web.

Bright and early Sunday its off the ship and on to Disneyland!!!!

Follow my Panama Canal Cruise Blogs. Beginning entries at the top, for most recent entries scroll down.

Beci and Chris' Blog Panama Canal Blog.

Deb and Linda

May 24, 2008

Disney Magic Panama Canal Cruise - Cabo San Lucas Day 13

May 22, 2008
Port of Call: Cabo San Lucas
Weather: Cool, 70s, Partly Cloudy

Cabo was our favorite port in 2005 and once again it wins the honor!!! It's a picturesque, clean port with lots to see and do.

One of the most famous attractions is Los Arcos rock formations. If you stay port side on the Disney Magic, you will face them while in port. Actually, the Disney Magic tenders here meaning you take a smaller boat into the port.

Here are the photos as the Magic arrived in Cabo:

Cabo San Lucas - Disney Magic

Cabo San Lucas - Disney Magic

Cabo San Lucas - Disney Magic

Cabo San Lucas - Disney Magic

Cabo San Lucas - Disney Magic

Our selected excursion was the Scenic Cruise and Harbor Drive, approximately 3-4 hours. Very easy, laid back excursion.

We boarded a catamaran to cruise around Los Arcos. Many photo ops were available. The crew also too pictures but they were $15 each for a 5x7. We decided at that price, our digital cameras did just fine. We all really enjoyed this 40 minute cruise. The one thing I did not care for was that smoking was allowed in certain areas of the boat. Because the boat was full of people, that didn't leave a separate area for the smokers.

Cabo San Lucas - Disney Magic


Cabo San Lucas - Disney Magic

Cabo San Lucas - Disney Magic

Cabo San Lucas - Disney Magic

Cabo San Lucas - Disney Magic

Cabo San Lucas - Disney Magic

Cabo San Lucas - Disney Magic

Cabo San Lucas - Disney Magic

Cabo San Lucas - Disney Magic

Cabo San Lucas - Disney Magic

Cabo San Lucas - Disney Magic

After disembarking the boat we walked about 5 minutes and boarded a bus to take us to the overlook location. We went to the Sunset de Monalisa Italian and Seafood Restaurant. The outdoor patio area was simply gorgeous. Lots of room to walk around and enjoy the amazing view of the Disney Magic and Los Arcos. We had about 40 minutes to relax here. No one really wanted to leave.

Cabo San Lucas - Disney Magic

Cabo San Lucas - Disney Magic

Cabo San Lucas - Disney Magic

Cabo San Lucas - Disney Magic

Once back in town, we wanted to eat at Cabo Wabo, unfortunately there was a long wait. Eventually our small group ended up at the Hard Rock Cafe. I passed on lunch and went back to the ship. It was a lovely 20 minute walk back to the port area. The tenders were quick and before I knew it was back on the Disney Magic.

Cabo San Lucas - Disney Magic

Cabo San Lucas - Disney Magic

We spent a leisurely afternoon doing the usual -- nap, eat, relax LOL.

Tonight was pirate night and we had an awesome time dressing up and getting into the spirit of the night.

Cabo San Lucas - Disney Magic

Cabo San Lucas - Disney Magic

Cabo San Lucas - Disney Magic

Cabo San Lucas - Disney Magic

Cabo San Lucas - Disney Magic

Cabo San Lucas - Disney Magic

Our last port day has come to an end. It was bitter sweet becauce it means only 2 sea days and then we arrive in Los Angeles.

Are you on the cruise with us? Are you blogging? Send me your link!

Thanks for the email about this blog, keep it coming!

Follow my Panama Canal Cruise Blogs. Beginning entries at the top, for most recent entries scroll down.

Follow our journey on the DIsney Magic. The call sign is C6PT7

This link will show you in red dots where the Magic is. You can use the ZOOM in and out feature to get a better idea of where the ship is.

To see all cruise ships sailing click here. Then you can click on any area of the map to get a closer view.

Beci and Chris' Blog Panama Canal Blog.

Deb and Linda

May 23, 2008

Disney Magic Panama Canal Cruise - Puerto Vallarta - Day 12

May 21, 2008
Port of Call: Puerto Vallarta
Weather: Partly Cloudy and 70s

This is the second visit to Puerto Vallarta for Linda and I. We stopped here on the inaugural West Coast DIsney cruise in 2005! Here are the Puerto Vallarta photos from the 2005 trip

Here are photos coming into port:

Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta


Your faithful blogger......

Puerto Vallarta

When I looked at the excursion choices and saw the same one I had taken in 2005, Horseback Riding, I quickly signed up for it and brought some of my cruisemates along as well. Linda really wanted to do the Zip Line again, but she's had some shoulder issues and thought it be best to pass.

The ride to Rancho Capomo was about 45 minutes. The drive was as I remembered, through very poor areas of the country. Many homes were not completely built, or missing windows, or broken roofs. A way of life so foreign to me and I was thankful for the life I have and all I am able to do. Our guide told us average salary is $5 US dollars per day for the local residents.

Upon arrival, we were treated to a small breakfast with some very yummy chocolate cinnomin coffee. Soon it was time to be assigned horses.

Rancho Capomo Puerto Vallarta

Rancho Capomo Puerto Vallarta

Rancho Capomo Puerto Vallarta

Rancho Capomo Puerto Vallarta

Rancho Capomo Puerto Vallarta

Rancho Capomo Puerto Vallarta


We rode through shallow riverbeds and lots of country. This time of year is just before the rain season and so everything is still very brown and the water levels are very low.


Rancho Capomo Puerto Vallarta

Rancho Capomo Puerto Vallarta

After approximately 50 minutes of horseback riding, we parked the horses and began our hike to the waterfall. The guide had warned us earlier that there was only a trickle at best (very different from my previous visit where we all frolicked in the water).


We hiked along suspension bridges that challenged the courage of many of us!
Rancho Capomo Puerto Vallarta


Rancho Capomo Puerto Vallarta


Despite the lack of "waterfall" we all enjoyed the time off the horses to stretch our legs.

Rancho Capomo Puerto Vallarta

Rancho Capomo Puerto Vallarta

Soon we were hiking back to the horses for our return trip. We took a very different trail and enjoyed different parts of the area.

Rancho Capomo Puerto Vallarta

Rancho Capomo Puerto Vallarta

Rancho Capomo Puerto Vallarta

Rancho Capomo Puerto Vallarta

I believe this was my first up close and personal experience with an unhappy donkey. Boy, did he/she let out quite a loud and long HeeeHawwww!

Rancho Capomo Puerto Vallarta


We returned to the ranch for Tequila to celebrate our journey, lunch, and local entertainment.

Rancho Capomo Puerto Vallarta

Rancho Capomo Puerto Vallarta


All too soon, we were back on the bus and headed to the Disney Magic.

Puerto Vallarta


Tonight's entertainment was the Crew Talent Show. It was well done and lots of fun to watch!

Crew Talent Show Disney Magic

Crew Talent Show Disney Magic

Crew Talent Show Disney Magic

Crew Talent Show Disney Magic

Crew Talent Show Disney Magic

Crew Talent Show Disney Magic

At dinner, we always enjoy ourselves :)

Disney Magic


Are you on the cruise with us? Are you blogging? Send me your link!

Beci and Chris' Blog Panama Canal Blog.

Thanks for the email about this blog, keep it coming!


Follow my Panama Canal Cruise Blogs. Beginning entries at the top, for most recent entries scroll down.

Follow our journey on the DIsney Magic. The call sign is C6PT7

This link will show you in red dots where the Magic is. You can use the ZOOM in and out feature to get a better idea of where the ship is.

To see all cruise ships sailing click here. Then you can click on any area of the map to get a closer view.

Deb and Linda


May 22, 2008

Disney Magic Panama Canal Cruise - Day 11 - Sea

May 20, 2008
Port of Call: SEA
Weather: Warm/hot and Sunny

An editorial note....I'm still 2 days behind with the blogs. In reality I am writing this at 5:30am Mexico time on Thursday the 22nd. In a hour or so we will be arriving in Cabo. Ok, now back to our Tuesday Sea Day!

Best I can recall, we spent yet another lazy morning in the cabin. Friends dropped in and out and we enjoyed coffee and catching up with what we've all been up to.

Linda and I scheduled a Spa Villa to enjoy as our special spa treatment of the cruise. We figured if we both did something we wanted, it would have just about added up to the cost, so why not!

We checked into the spa about 10:40 and filled out the required paperwork. Soon, we were meeting our 2 spa folks for a couple hours of beautiful relaxation. They brought us to the spa and talked about what our experience would be like and offered a few options of treatments for us to consider. They were really good about mix and matching things so we got to enjoy a couple treatments instead of just one.


Vista Spa - Spa Villa Experience - Disney Magic

Vista Spa - Spa Villa Experience - Disney Magic

Vista Spa - Spa Villa Experience - Disney Magic

Vista Spa - Spa Villa Experience - Disney Magic

The villa is two rooms separated by sliding glass doors. The first room has the massage beds. The 2nd room is open air, with a jacuzzi tub, relaxing lounging couch. We could not have asked for a better weather day. The blue sky, mountains in the background and cool breeze were just perfect.

After deciding on our treatments, we were asked to change and then brought into the open air room for a ritual foot bath.

Vista Spa - Spa Villa Experience - Disney Magic

Next we were treated to a bubble bath in the jacuzzi, the water was just warm enough to be soothing but not too hot. We enjoyed a good 20 minutes having the jets get our muscles ready for the treatment.

Vista Spa - Spa Villa Experience - Disney Magic

I had planned to have the staff take photos of me having the algae wrap, but totally got into the experience and forgot. So, I had an algae wrap which came with a scalp and foot massage. Then I had a back and shoulder deep tissue massage. Benita also added some stone massage for me as well. It was heavenly!

Linda opted for a facial and back massage. She also totally enjoyed her experience.

After about an hour or so, that part was over and I showered to get all the algae off. We were then taken back to the open air room for total relaxation. Tea and fresh fruit (including chocolate covered strawberries) were provided.

Vista Spa - Spa Villa Experience - Disney Magic

Vista Spa - Spa Villa Experience - Disney Magic

All too quickly it was 1:30 and time to go.

Linda rushed off to a champagne tasting with Beci. I returned to my cabin to get ready for my next event.

Palo High Tea! I had only attended one on an early cruise and thought it was time to go again. Originally I had booked it for Sharon, Sandy, Linda and I but they all decided to pass. I offered their tickets to the Grandons who agreed to join me for tea.

Right after we were seated, George and Ann were seated next to us, so I asked the manager to kindly seat us all together. They were happy to accomodate us.

The tea was basically an eat-fest and certainly is NOT for diabetics. I just had little tastes of some of the goodies and adjusted my insulin accordingly. It was certainly a treat for someone like me who lives in a sugar free / no sugar added world.

We had little sandwiches, pettifours, pastries and a lemon tiramisu.


High Tea at Palo- Disney Magic

High Tea at Palo- Disney Magic

High Tea at Palo- Disney Magic

After some great tasty treats and wonderful conversation, I excused myself and was off to the Concierge Reception at the outside verandah of Topsiders.

Sandy joined Linda and I. The weather was again perfect, warm and a slight breeze.

Concierge Reception - Disney Magic

Once again, Richard and Connie were the perfect hosts and our special guest Donald was a hoot.

Concierge Reception - Disney Magic

Glo, Donald says You Are Number 1!!

Concierge Reception - Disney Magic

Whew! Tonight the entertainment is Joey Fatone and Alphonso (Carlton from Fresh Prince). I wanted to see them, but needed sleep more...so Linda and I did not attend the show.

Our dinner at Animator's Palate was themed the Mickey Mouse Club! It was fun with the servers all dressed in white turtle neck shirts, the head servers in red turtle neck shirts.

Mickey Mouse Club Dinner - Disney Magic

Mickey Mouse Club Dinner - Disney Magic

Mickey Mouse Club Dinner - Disney Magic

Mickey Mouse Club Dinner - Disney Magic

Mickey Mouse Club Dinner - Disney Magic


Another awesome day had come to an end. Next we have back to back ports of call days!


Are you on the cruise with us? Are you blogging? Send me your link!

Beci and Chris' Blog Panama Canal Blog.

Thanks for the email about this blog, keep it coming!


Follow my Panama Canal Cruise Blogs. Beginning entries at the top, for most recent entries scroll down.

Follow our journey on the DIsney Magic. The call sign is C6PT7

This link will show you in red dots where the Magic is. You can use the ZOOM in and out feature to get a better idea of where the ship is.

To see all cruise ships sailing click here. Then you can click on any area of the map to get a closer view.

Deb and Linda

May 21, 2008

Disney Magic Panama Canal Cruise - Day 10 - Acapulco

May 19, 2008
Port of Call: Acapulco
Weather: HOT HOT HOT

Hello out there..... We want to say a special hello this morning to Tim and Dan and Lorna and Deb who are keeping on eye on our house... Thank you! Also hello to Debbie Hall and a thanks for all her emails!

We are reading all your emails and hopefully will have time for a mailbag blog soon.

Linda and I treated this as a Sea Day. We had no desire to go walking around on our own, nor did any of the excursions entice us. So we enjoyed the ship with most everyone off of it!

The ship TVs have a channel called Report from the Bridge, which lets you know where you are, weather, sea conditions, etc.

Here is our journey thus far. We have traveled 3,329 miles from Port Canaveril Florida!

Acapulco

The local pilot prepares to board the Disney Magic.

Acapulco

Here are some photos as we arrived in Acapulco!

Acapulco

Acapulco

Acapulco

This rowboat didn't seem the least bit interested in the fact that this huge cruiseliner was SO close to them. They stayed way too close for our comfort for way too long.

Acapulco

Acapulco

Acapulco

Acapulco

Acapulco

Acapulco

Acapulco

I did a morning 3 mile walk, Linda, yes, was at the pool :)


Acapulco

Acapulco

Acapulco

We enjoyed lunch with 2 Passporter Message Board Moderators, DrDolphin and Leslie.

Acapulco

Enjoyed meeting Jake at Guest Services.

Acapulco

Linda and I attended the showing of Prince Caspian. I'm not sure what to tell you about this. It was a great, action packed, moved right along movie. I'll just say we didn't walk away from it like we did the first one. Hmmmm I'll look foward to read what others thinkg.

Beci managed to get a last minute Palo dining reservation so of course we said YES!

Acapulco

Acapulco

Acapulco at night:

Acapulco

Acapulco

Acapulco

Next up, an official sea day!


Are you on the cruise with us? Are you blogging? Send me your link!

Beci and Chris' Blog Panama Canal Blog.

Thanks for the email about this blog, keep it coming!


Follow my Panama Canal Cruise Blogs. Beginning entries at the top, for most recent entries scroll down.

Follow our journey on the DIsney Magic. The call sign is C6PT7

This link will show you in red dots where the Magic is. You can use the ZOOM in and out feature to get a better idea of where the ship is.

To see all cruise ships sailing click here. Then you can click on any area of the map to get a closer view.

Deb and Linda

May 19, 2008

Day 8 - At Sea Disney Magic Panama Canal Cruise -

May 17, 2008
Port of Call: At Sea

The Disney Magic was very slow to waken this morning. Everyone spent the Panama Canal day visiting all parts of the ship, taking photos, enjoying every moment, not wanting to miss a thing -- that we were all quite tired.

The sea was like shimmering glass .. so beautiful and tranquil.

Somewhere in the Pacific

Before getting too far along, I want to send a big HELLO to my friends in the Parklawn Building: Mike, Harry, Don, Denise, Bob, and everyone else!!!!! They listened to my tales of anticipation for weeks prior to the cruise. Plus, they are at work today, and well, I"m on a ship in the Pacific :)

I also want to send a big hello to the AllEars team who continue to work hard while I"m on an extensive research trip. Thank you all for minding the home front.

Ok, now onto our Sea Day.

Our 2 main activities for today would be a talk by Ducky WIlliams and dinner at Palo. We had hoped that Prince Caspian would be shown, but it was not. It was shown on Panama Canal day, but we certainly didn't want to be in a theatre on such a historic day.

Before arriving at the Walt Disney Theatre, I ran into Sharon and Sandy.

Sandy and Sharon


Don Ducky Williams is the premiere Disney Character artist. His talks include an inspiring story of never giving up on your dream! He also draws characters throughout the presentation and then numbered tickets are drawn for lucky winners.

This one is for all Goofy fans and especially Masayo!!!

Ducky Williams drawing Goofy

Ducky Williams

This one is for all you Jiminy Cricket fans, especially Debbie Koma!

Ducky Williams drawing Jiminy Cricket

This one is for all Belle fans, especially Mike Scopa!

Ducky Williams drawing Belle

And this one for all Eeyore fans, especially Ames.

Ducky Williams drawing Eeyore

I can't recall what I did the rest of the day, but I'm sure it involved eating, sleeping, reading Barbara Walter's new book and general frivolity!

Prior to our dinner at Palo, I realized we could go on Deck 10 and see the sunset. It was full of beautiful colors.

Sunset at Sea

Sunset at Sea

Soon it was time for our dinner at Palo. This is the premiere adult only restaurant on both the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder. The best servers and chefs work here.

We all "cleaned up nice" and were excited for our evening dining experience.

Linda and Deb

Linda and Deb at Palo

Gary and Karen

Gary and Karen at Palo

Chris and Beci

Chris and Beci at Palo

Ann and George
Ann and George at Palo

Sharon and Sandy
Sharon and Sandy at Palo

I had heard several times already about Cecilia, one of the Palo servers. Everyone spoke about how awesome she was. Lucky for us, Cecilia was our server!

Cecilia Palo

Cecilia at Palo

Another incredible day has come to an end.....

Are you on the cruise with us? Are you blogging? Send me your link!

Beci and Chris' Blog Panama Canal Blog.

Thanks for the email about this blog, keep it coming!


Follow my Panama Canal Cruise Blogs. Beginning entries at the top, for most recent entries scroll down.

Follow our journey on the DIsney Magic. The call sign is C6PT7

This link will show you in red dots where the Magic is. You can use the ZOOM in and out feature to get a better idea of where the ship is.

To see all cruise ships sailing click here. Then you can click on any area of the map to get a closer view.

Deb and Linda

May 16, 2008

Panama Canal Part 1 Gatun Lock - Disney Magic Panama Canal Cruise -

May 16, 2008
Port of Call: Sailing through the Panama Canal
Weather: Hot and Humid

Filing several reports throughout the day. Scroll down for the most recent.

12:37 PM CST

The ship came alive very early this morning. I hear that a number of folks slept out on Deck 10 to get primo viewing spots for going thru the canal.

Here are some early morning photos...... as we are just outside the Panama Canal getting refueled:

ReFueling Outside the Panama Canal Very Early in the Morning

ReFueling Outside the Panama Canal Very Early in the Morning


ReFueling Outside the Panama Canal Very Early in the Morning

ReFueling Outside the Panama Canal Very Early in the Morning

Our entry into the canal was delayed when a US Submarine surfaced and requested passage through the canal. They got priority over us.

Submarine Surfaces just outside the Canal

UPDATE: 1:30pm CST

As I mentioned above, our schedule was thrown off by the sub. We were originally scheduled to have the Panama Pilot onboard at 5am, it was announced he was onboard at 6:50am.

We were scheduled to approach the Gatun Lock at 8am, instead we approached at 10am.

Gatun Lock  Panama Canal

Gatun Lock  Panama Canal

See the 3 steps of the lock? There is a ship on the left side in the 2nd lock.

Gatun Lock  Panama Canal


Gatun Lock  Panama Canal
Tons of folks were packed in the front of the ship. Lots.

Gatun Lock  Panama Canal

Special Panama Canal TShirts were being sold today only, so of course Linda and I got one.

Panama Canal Tshirts


Even Minnie wanted to see the locks.


Minnie at the Panama Canal

The Gatun Locks begin to accept the Disney Magic and the Gates Open...

Gatun Locks at Panama Canal

Gatun Locks at Panama Canal

We have been inside the 26 mile Gatun Lake since about 10am this morning (after passing through the Gatun Locks). We will soon be approaching the Pedro Miguel Lock.

3:00pm CST

Before arriving at the Pedro Miguel Lock we passed under the Centenial Bridge. WOW. the expansion of that bridge!!!!

Once again, the US Submarine slowed us down. However, we got some amazing views of it.

We are now coming out of the Pedro Miguel Lock. Only one more lock to go. I put in my 4G card and realized just now, my card reader only goes to 2G. I'll try to find someone with a new reader.

5:00pm CST
We have completed our transition of the Panama Canal and are now in the Pacific Ocean! What an amazing day!

8:00pm CST
More Gatun Lock Photos

Gatun Locks at Panama Canal

Gatun Locks at Panama Canal

Gatun Locks at Panama Canal

Gatun Locks at Panama Canal

Gatun Locks at Panama Canal

Gatun Locks at Panama Canal

Gatun Locks at Panama Canal

Gatun Locks at Panama Canal

Gatun Locks at Panama Canal

Gatun Locks at Panama Canal

Gatun Locks at Panama Canal

Gatun Locks at Panama Canal

Are you on the cruise with us? Are you blogging? Send me your link!

Beci and Chris' Blog Panama Canal Blog.

Thanks for the email about this blog, keep it coming!


Follow my Panama Canal Cruise Blogs. Beginning entries at the top, for most recent entries scroll down.

Follow our journey on the DIsney Magic. The call sign is C6PT7

This link will show you in red dots where the Magic is. You can use the ZOOM in and out feature to get a better idea of where the ship is.

To see all cruise ships sailing click here. Then you can click on any area of the map to get a closer view.

Deb and Linda

Day 6 - Sea Day Disney Magic Panama Canal Cruise -

May 15, 2008
Port of Call: SEA

I'll file this report at a later date.

Tomorrow we go through the Panama Canal. The whole ship is buzzing with excitment.

Here is the Panama Canal Port Authority WebCams.
Follow our journey through the Canal.

May 15, 2008

Day 5 - Aruba Disney Magic Panama Canal Cruise -

May 14, 2008
Port of Call: Aruba
Weather: High 80s, Low Humidity, Sunny morning, cloudy afternoon

Approaching Aruba

 Approaching Aruba

Linda enjoys the view from our balcony.

 Linda enjoys the view from our balcony

About Aruba:
According to the Aruba Tourism Authority website, "the first people to inhabit the island were a nation of Arawak Indians called the Caiquetios who migrated north from the Orinoco Basin in South America and settled here approximately 2,000 years ago.

The native language is a creole dialect called Papiamento which is made up of elements of Dutch, Spanish, English, French, Portuguese, a number of different African languages, and Arawak Indian. Nearly everyone on the island is able to speak English and Spanish, in addition to Dutch, which is the official language of Aruba."

The Aruba local pilot boards the Disney Magic.

Aruba Pilot boat Approaches

When Linda and I spoke to folks who had visited Aruba before just about every person commented on the beaches and snorkling.

We decided on a snorkling excursion. We bring our own snorkle and mask and use the fins and lifejacket from the tour company. You certainly don't have to bring your own as everything you need is supplied on the boat.

Turns out Ann and George were on our Sail and Snorkle excursion! It's really funny because without talking about what we plan to do, we tend to end up sharing excursions together. We gather in Rockin Bar D to leave the boat and head to the catamaran!

Waiting for our excursion to begin

Sailing and Snorkling Excursion:
Escape to an underwater world of colorful fish, unique coral formations and the Antilla shipwreck during a sailing and snorkeling adventure off the coast of Aruba.

Disney Magic in Aruba


Disney Magic in Aruba

Our sister boat, duplicate of what we are on, sailing to the snorkle stop.

Snorkle boat in Aruba


We sail about 40 minutes to Boca Cathalina. Located on the west coast of the island, Boca Cathalina is a picturesque beach hideaway brimming with white sands and swaying palm trees, and is considered to be one of the best snorkeling spots in all of Aruba for its vast array of fish.

Deb dons her snorkle gear.

Snorkle boat in Aruba

The water level at this first stop was about 15 feet and seas were calm. The water was warm and felt great to be swimming around. After 40 minutes, we were back onboard the catamaran for a short sail to our 2nd stop, the world-famous Antilla shipwreck.

Built by the Germans in 1939, the 397-foot, World War II freight ship was sunk in 1940 by the very country that created it in direct response to the inescapable threat of being commandeered by the Dutch. Today, as the second largest wreck in the Caribbean, it is home to a kaleidoscope of tropical fish and is considered to be one of the world's top 10 snorkeling sites.

At this location the water was about the same temperature, but the seas were 60 feet deep and very rough with strong currents. Little ones, well, even some adults, had a difficult time navigating the waters. Our boat docked right on top of the ship wreck, so we didn't have to go far to get an incredible view of the ship and the tropical fish. I probably saw 4-5 different types of fish. Next time I'll have to study my fish guide before I go snorkling!

It was fascinating to explore the ship and see all the fish. There was a group of scuba divers at the ship as well. They were quite interesting to watch.

Linda and I got back on the boat after about 30 minutes, most folks were already on board.

We had a wonderful 45 minute sail back to the Disney Magic. The crew served all types of beverages and that's where I found Linda, George and Ann.

Snorkle boat in Aruba

Snorkle boat in Aruba

Snorkle boat in Aruba

Snorkle boat in Aruba

Snorkle boat in Aruba

Back onboard the Disney Magic we showered and yes, took a nap LOL. I don't know what it is but we are so relaxed we just seem to want to nap.... hehe

We depart Aruba about 6pm. Would you love to stay at this resort we passed on the way out of port!!!

Aruba

One of the channels on the ship TV is the Report from the Bridge. You can get weather conditions, location of the ship, sea conditions and all kinds of neat information. So far we have traveled......

Miles from Port Canaveral in Florida

The ship had changed to a more southwestern course so the sunset is no longer off our balcony. We went up to Deck 10 and enjoyed this evenings sunset out of Aruba....

 Sunset

Linda and Sunset

We relaxed for a while in Cove Cafe with George and then began to slowly wander to our dining destination for the evening, Animator's Palate.

Along the way, we encountered this crazy man!

Mad Hatter and Alice

Characters really seem to be out all over the ship and it's great fun to just run into them as you walk the decks.

Tropical Fiesta Night on the Disney Magic. Here is Orland, our server explainig tonights menu. The next photo is Deb and Orland dancing around the restaurant.

Tropical Fiesta Night on the Disney Magic

Tropical Fiesta Night on the Disney Magic

There was a deck party complete with buffet, but Linda and I passed and returned to our cabin. A great day in Aruba. Another day at sea and then we sail through the Panama Canal!


Are you on the cruise with us? Are you blogging? Send me your link!

Beci and Chris' Blog Panama Canal Blog.

Thanks for the email about this blog, keep it coming!


Follow my Panama Canal Cruise Blogs. Beginning entries at the top, for most recent entries scroll down.

Follow our journey on the DIsney Magic. The call sign is C6PT7

This link will show you in red dots where the Magic is. You can use the ZOOM in and out feature to get a better idea of where the ship is.

To see all cruise ships sailing click here. Then you can click on any area of the map to get a closer view.

Deb and Linda

May 14, 2008

At Sea Disney Magic Panama Canal Cruise - Day 4

May 13, 2008
Port of Call: SEA
Weather: Hot, Low Humidity, Sunny

Ah....we awoke to get a glimpse of the sunrise about 6:30am. The humidity is gone and so the cabin doors are wide open. We enjoyed coffee, listened to the Panama Canal History Lecture on the TV and I caught up on email.

While Linda continued to enjoy the cabin, I decided to do a power walk. I started on Deck 10 and after a mile realized it was WAY too windy. I refilled my water and went to Deck 4. Ah, much better. I walked about 3+ miles. It felt great to be walking again after a week off.

Soon it was time for Palo Brunch with Ann and George.

Ann, George, Deb and Linda Palo Brunch

While at the brunch we saw our neighbors Gary and Janice - HELLO FOLKS!

 Palo Brunch Dessert Table

Our server was Fernando from Chile. We met Fernando 5 years ago on the 7 Night Disney Eastern Caribbean cruise. At the time, he was an assistant server. He has now worked his way to Palo Server!!!! Yea Fernando!

Fernando and Linda at Palo Brunch

Linda's seafood platter at Palo Brunch

After our wonderful meal, Linda went sunbathing. I waited for the gift team to arrive so we could make our bags for Day 5. There are items called Fish Extenders, which you hang outside your cabin. They have pockets and allow for small gifts to be left for you. I joined the DIS boards Fish Extender swap and our day for delivery is Aruba. So far we have gotten really neat items like neck coolies, themed buttons, magnets for the door, candy, dry erase board and much more.

Our team is delivering Pirate Tatoos, kid's bracelet, AllEars Pens, Chapstick and a Castaway Cay postcard,

Imagineer Jeff Kurti was giving a lecture at 3pm. I really wanted to attend, but also wanted to nap. I have decided on this cruise, I would give in to my desire to nap. LOL

This evening's show is When Mickey Dreams. It was introduced last year on the Meditterrean Cruise (for those cruises only). I was very excited to read it was back for the Mexican cruises. It's a combination of Tapestry of Dreams and Cirque de Soliel! The acrobats and gymnists are breathtaking....incredible. I just love it!!! Here are some pics:


 When Mickey Dreams Disney Magic Theatre Show

 When Mickey Dreams Disney Magic Theatre Show

 When Mickey Dreams Disney Magic Theatre Show

 When Mickey Dreams Disney Magic Theatre Show

 When Mickey Dreams Disney Magic Theatre Show

Linda, Beci and I decided to skip dinner at Lumiere's and watch Dancing with the Stars. We ordered dinner in the room and enjoyed the show.

Soon it was time to say goodnight and get ready for our day in Aruba!!!!!

Are you on the cruise with us? Are you blogging? Send me your link!

Thanks for the email about this blog, keep it coming!


Follow my Panama Canal Cruise Blogs. Beginning entries at the top, for most recent entries scroll down.

Follow our journey on the DIsney Magic. The call sign is C6PT7

This link will show you in red dots where the Magic is. You can use the ZOOM in and out feature to get a better idea of where the ship is.

To see all cruise ships sailing click here. Then you can click on any area of the map to get a closer view.

Deb and Linda


May 13, 2008

At Sea Disney Magic Panama Canal Cruise - Day 3

Monday May 12, 2008
Port of Call: SEA
Weather: Hot and Humid

Ah...... Sea Days! One of the best parts of cruising and we have 2 in a row. We were up around 6 and had just missed the sunrise. Room service coffee came quickly and I logged in and Linda is on the couch reading.


Before I tell you about today, I must tell you about the surprise I had on Embarkation Day. During the sail away party, someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around to find my dear friend Deb Grandon who I had not seen or talked to in, well, way too long! Her daughter Kelly is all grown up now. They all looked WONDERFUL...oops, I guess I should MAGICal.

Deb, Scott and Kelly Grandon

Also, another update! Apparently Donnie Osmond was the originally scheduled special entertainer, but he has canceled and we will see Joey Fatone instead. No offense Joey, but I would have LOVED to see Donnie! Oh Well!


The Concierge held a reception at 10:30 in Sessions. Our wonderful concierge team invited me to bring along some of my traveling party, so Ann, George, Beci and Chris accompanied me.

Here's Ann and George waiting for us in the lobby.

Ann and George


WOW! I guess because I had no expectations...but there was quite a nice continentel breakfast spread, including some awesome berries!!!!!


Concierge Reception

Shortly after arriving, our special guest arrived. Everyone was surprised and we had great fun watching her with the kids.


Cinderella

Linda spent the morning at the Rainforest in the Spa.

We regrouped in the cabin and Beci, Chris, Linda and I went to the 12:30 showing of National Treasure 2! It was great!!!!!

The afternoon flew by and soon I was back in the cabin for a late afternoon nap :)

Tonight is formal night and not only did the passengers dress up,

Deb and Linda

but so did the characters.

Donald and Daisy

The evening show, Golden Mickeys, was as great as always.


Mickey and Minnie in Golden Mickeys

Tomorrow....a SEA DAY!!

Are you on the cruise with us? Are you blogging? Send me your link!

Thanks for the email about this blog, keep it coming!


Follow my Panama Canal Cruise Blogs. Beginning entries at the top, for most recent entries scroll down.

Follow our journey on the DIsney Magic. The call sign is C6PT7

This link will show you in red dots where the Magic is. You can use the ZOOM in and out feature to get a better idea of where the ship is.

To see all cruise ships sailing click here. Then you can click on any area of the map to get a closer view.

Deb and Linda

May 12, 2008

Castaway Cay Disney Magic Panama Canal Cruise - Day 2

Sunday, May 11, 2008
Castaway Cay

Our day at Castaway Cay was beautiful. It's like coming "home" again when we pull into port and see all the pastel colored umbrellas and the waving DCL and Castaway Cay flags from the post office. The starboard side of the ship has a great view of the island and the pirate ship.

Castaway Cay

Over on the port side we get to see all the crew members docking the ship. It is actually quite fascinating to watch the whole process.

Castaway Cay

After a very leisurely morning of breakfast in the cabin, I decided I was recovered enough from the 26 mile Avon walk of last weekend to begin walking again. Bandaids on the almost healed blisters and off I went. Because of my fair skin, I always have to stay protected. Good high spf sunscreen and my wonderful LL Bean ultra light sun protected clothing and hat. Of course, Beci and Linda had a good chuckle when they saw me.

Deb Wills

Have I mentioned how HOT and HUMID it was???? I was glad for my training otherwise I don't think I could have done the walk. I headed off the ship. Ran into Sharon at Marges Barges, who was waiting for Sandy who went ParaSailing. Then off I went. I planned on an hour walk, 30 minutes out an then back.

It was here I realized how few children really are on the ship. The teen beach was empty, the family beach about half full. I heard that Serentiy Bay (adult beach) was absolutely packed well before 11am.

I walked out to Serenity Bay and back. Very grateful that Disney has ice cold water jugs along the way. I filled up 3 times! Saw Sharon again who looked at me and couldn't believe I was still out walking!

While I was on the island, Linda got a day pass for the Rainforest Spa. The one day (or length of cruise pass) allows you access to the Rainforest room, sauna, and 2 steam rooms, showers etc. The wonderful warmed stone beds really are soothing to the body.

Back on board for my first of several nap times. I'm also reading my first book in years, Barbara Walter's "Audition". It's quite good so far.

The day was a lazy one indeed...after all, that's why we chose this cruise! At lunch we met 2 ladies we sailed the Mediterrean with.

Late in the day our concierge team, Connie and Richard, came by. What a delightful pair of Crew Members. These folks are AWESOME!!!!! Already we feel as though we are old friends. (A much different and much more positive experience than we had on the Wonder last year)

A few minutes before 6, I ran downstairs to put my RSP in for the Panama Canal pins. If you are into pins you know what that is..basically a random drawing request list for limited edition pins. The whole process was rather confusing to me and I even had used an RSP before.

I then ran into Fish Extender Team Mate Suzy Snyder.... Then Sandy, Sharon, George and Ann in the shops. They were buyin merchandise, I was just window shopping.

As we headed out to dinner at Animators Palate, we walked along Deck 4, above the atrium. This was one of the beautiful images we saw. This is when I really wish I had a digital SLR camera so I could have really captured the moment. Not to bad tho with my Canon S5IS.

Belle and Child

Ran into Terry (DrDolphin) and Leslie from the Passporter Boards...they had a great day parasailing.

Animators has changed their menu, but it still does nothing for me. Most of us at the table were also like, eh... Plus, now that we have seen the show so many times and the technology (which was a WOW in 98 when the ships came onboard) has grown old.

One cool surprise was that during the Crew parade through the dining room, Sorcerery Mickey led the way. None of us could think of when we have seen Sorcerery Mickey other than in the Hollywood Studios and Fantasmic. It was a WAY cool surprise for us all.

Sorcerer Mickey in Animators Palate

After dinner, the grown ups all went out to the club and the kids (like Linda and myself) went back to the cabin to call it a night.

Next 2 full sea days....yea!!!!!

Are you on the cruise with us? Are you blogging? Send me your link to include here!


Follow my Panama Canal Cruise Blogs. Beginning entries at the top, for most recent entries scroll down.

Follow our journey on the DIsney Magic. The call sign is C6PT7

This link will show you in red dots where the Magic is. You can use the ZOOM in and out feature to get a better idea of where the ship is.

To see all cruise ships sailing click here. Then you can click on any area of the map to get a closer view.

Deb and Linda

May 11, 2008

Embarkation Disney Magic Panama Canal Cruise - Day 1b

Today we got up early and met Sandy and Sharon, at the Dolphin's Fresh, for Breakfast.

At 9:30, Happy Limo picked us up for our journey to the port.

Outside the Dolphin Hotel waiting for our ride

As you might imagine, Port Canaveral was just BUZZING with excitement. Over 2,000 passengers were about to board the ship for a 15 night cruise through the Panama Canal and to Los Angeles California.

At the port, the line for check-in was quite long. I had a secret surprise for Linda that I have been keeping for quite sometime..... she didn't know but I had booked a 1 bedroom suite instead of our regular Navigators Verandah. As I led her to the concierge check-in, she was quite surprised!!!!! I'm not sure how I kept the secret since we booked in January 2007! Plus, as it got closer to the cruise, I started telling a lot of our friends.

When we arrived in the state room we had a beautiful floral bouquet, thanks to Cathy and Bryant! And Beci had left us a Spa basket. Two very nice treats! Soon, a small fruit platter was delivered for us. Then we met Nick our cabin guy, who seems VERY on the ball and a great personality. We are going to like him!!!!

Normally we wouldn't want all this space, but since we have a large number of sea days, I thought, what better way to splurge! And so we did! It's already been nice as we had our group of 10 in before the sail away yesterday. While a bit crowded...we all fit and it worked.

There are a lot of plusses to the suite and concierge service, I'll leave that to another blog entry.

One Bedroom Suite - Category 3 Disney Magic

So we board the ship and off we went to Parrot Cay, our favorite embarkation day lunch destination. We all had different boarding group numbers, so it took a while for all 10 of us to get on the ship.

Our next surprise of the day - Sandy had special T-Shirts made for each of us.

Special Mickey T-Shirts

It's Mickey in the Sea No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil. "What happens at sea, stays at sea!" It was a grand surprise and perfect for the theme of the cruise.

Soon it was time for the Muster Drill and then the Sail Away Party!!!! As usually, the characters were all out and helped wish us all a great sailing.

Sailaway Party


Sailaway Party


Sailaway Party


Sailaway Party

Linda and I took a short nap before our 8:15 dinner seating. We have both been really tired, she's fighting a cold and I had the 26 miles walk just a few days ago.

We all gathered at dinner and most of us were pretty tired from traveling, work and everything else. We all agreed that had it not been the first night, most of us would have skipped dinner. As it was, I ate my chicken and then excused myself and headed right to the room to call it a night.

Concierge had left our trip itinerary and we were thrilled to see that Donnie Osmond would be doing a show later in the cruise.

Well, as I write this we are pulling into Castaway Cay. We are drinking coffee and watching the ship pull in (7:30am on Sunday, May 11). We have no plans for today and we will just see what the day brings.

I'll end now and write more later.......

Follow my Panama Canal Cruise Blogs. Beginning entries at the top, for most recent entries scroll down.

Follow our journey on the DIsney Magic. The call sign is C6PT7

This link will show you in red dots where the Magic is. You can use the ZOOM in and out feature to get a better idea of where the ship is.

To see all cruise ships sailing click here. Then you can click on any area of the map to get a closer view.

Deb

Embarkation Disney Magic Panama Canal Cruise - Day 1a

Linda and I flew into Orlando on Friday. I slept on the plane and awoke bright eyed and ready to go! Once the plane stopped rolling I got up and started moving around getting excited. Linda laughed with me. The trip of a lifetime had begun.

We had a quick reunion with Beci and Chris as they were staying at the airport Hyatt and met us in baggage claim for some quick hugs. They had taken the red eye flight in from Seattle Washington.

We had a smooth ride to WDW via Quicksilver and when we got into the Dolphin I saw a packed lobby, which probably meant rooms were not ready. Turns out there were over 1000 departures that morning.

A dear friend had emailed me a few days ago to let me know they had a surprise visit to WDW this weekend. We used our phones text messaging and set up a small surprise for Linda at lunch. Once we were eating at Picabu (Dolphin), someone came up behind Linda and surprised her. I HOPE it's ok now (since this will publish on Sunday) to say it was our dear friend Mike Scopa.

At 2:30 our room still wasn't ready and I had a 3pm massage at Mandara Spa. I didn't want to have to go from a massage to sitting in the lobby. So, I returned to the front desk and asked if any room was available. The Cast Member was most helpful and got us a great room with a balcony.

I got back to the room from the massage about 4ish and Linda was getting ready to head down for her massage. We both had the Sweedish Massage and both of us rated it average. Nothing special, but nice. The real plus was the heated massage bed to lay on....very relaxing.a

I was meeting John from OwnersLocker at 5:30 at the lobby bar, so no time to nap, LOL

Linda eventually joined John and I and then he departed. It's always good to catch up with John and talk "shop". While we sat finishing our beverages, we spotted 2 of our cruise mates entering the hotel, Sharon and Sandy. So, we had our second reunion of the day. We picked up right where we left off one year ago. We love to travel with these cousins...they are huge fun!

Now back to the room and quickly off to dinner.

We enjoyed a great dinner at the Yachtsman Steakhouse with our dear friends Steve and Vickie Barrett and surprise guest Mike Scopa. Our server YUN, was great, friendly and knowledgeable. She made it a fun evening. Near the end of dinner I remembed I had met the manager of the Steakhouse in the fall, so I asked for him to come by the table. It was good to see Mark again and we told him we had a great dinner and super server. During dinner, my phone rang and it was our friend Masayo from Japan. She wanted to say hello and wish us a bon voyage!!!!! It doesn't get much better than having friends from all around the world!!!!

(By the way, the Deb and Steve cruise this September has a few cabins remaining - well, as of this blog).


May 8, 2008

Planning the Disney Magic Panama Canal Cruise

I'm very excited to be on the Disney Magic in just a couple days as it sets sail through the Panama Canal on it's way to Los Angeles. In 2005, the Magic did it's first Panama Canal sailing and while I really wanted to go, I couldn't take that much time off from work.

Well, over a year ago when the 2008 Disney Cruises were announced, I jumped on the Panama Cruise! We've got our favorite Category 7 (Navigator's Verandah) cabin. It's 15 nights and there are more sea days than port days -- which is perfect for me. I find the ship a very relaxing way to travel and enjoy the days onboard.

As Mickey says, Big dooin's goin on, so let's get started!"

Our ports of call as we leave Florida are: Castaway Cay, Aruba, Acapulco, Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta. We don't dock in Panama; we spend the day going thru the canal. Everyone I talk with speaks so highly of the canal day that we are really excited.

We also have Palo fine dining reservations for brunch and high tea and a group dinner in the private dining room.

And since I mentioned we are traveling with a group, here's a listing of who we are traveling with. Most of these folks we met on a Disney Cruise and we have been sailing together yearly (or almost yearly) every since. We have traveled on various cruise lines and visited various ports of call in the Caribbean, Alaska and the Mediterranean.

Deb (me) and Linda - From Maryland
Sandy and Sharon - Sandy from Michigan and Sharon Georgia
George and Ann - from Ohio
Beci and Chris (MouseFanTravel.com) - Washington State
Gary and Karen - New York

And then there around 100 cabins of cruisers from the DISboards community.

Here is the itinerary:

Saturday, May 10 - Depart Port Canaveral Florida
Sunday, May 11 - Castaway Cay
Monday and Tuesday - At Sea
Wednesday, May 14 - Aruba
Thursday, May 15 - At Sea
Friday, May 16 - Panama Canal
Saturday and Sunday - At Sea
Monday, May 19 - Acapulco
Tuesday - At Sea
Wednesday, May 21 - Puerto Vallarta
Thursday, May 22 - Cabo San Lucas
Friday and Saturday - At Sea
Sunday, May 25 - Port of Los Angeles

After the cruise, I am spending a few nights at the Disneyland Resort.

Follow our journey on the DIsney Magic. The call sign is C6PT7

This link will show you in red dots where the Magic is. You can use the ZOOM in and out feature to get a better idea of where the ship is.

To see all cruise ships sailing click here. Then you can click on any area of the map to get a closer view.

April 10, 2008

Deb and Steve Cruise Unveils Logo

Greetings,

There are over 200 sailors cruising with Steve Barrett and myself on a very special 5 night Disney Magic Cruise this September. There are even 2 stops at Castaway Cay.! We look forward to good times with everyone!

Deb and Steve


Today we unveiled our logo!

Deb and Steve Cruise Logo

The Deb and Steve cruise has several exclusive onboard events (including Hidden Mickey tours with Steve) for those in our group.

Disney Cruise Line has this cruise as sold out. Just a very few cabins remain with our travel partner, MouseFanTravel.com.
You can also join us for a special Pre-Cruise dinner in the American Adventure Pavilion on August 31st via our travel partner, MouseFanTravel.com

Merchandise is available on our Cafe Press Store!

April 7, 2008

3 Night Disney Wonder Cruise Getaway Part 4

The 3 night cruise really is over way too quickly. Only 2 full days on the ship and those fly by.

The reasons to do a 3 night cruise would be:
It's over a weekend (less time off from work)
It's short if you aren't sure about cruising.

I can't see any other reason to do it. I think it was my last 3 night cruise for a long time.

Today is Castaway Cay day. The water was very rough and it took the Captain a good long while to get the ship docked. Also, because a weather system was coming later in the afternoon, it was announced we'd be leaving the island earlier than usual.

Sometime go up on Deck 9, port side, and look down to Deck 8. There is a small area where the Captain will steer the ship into a dock. It's quite fascinating especially when you realize he's using a "joystick" to maneuver the boat.

Captain Docking at Castaway Cay

Captain Docking at Castaway Cay

Masayo and Mamoru headed out early to go snorkeling.

Masayo and Mamoru


Beci, Linda Mac and Linda Lou joined them at Serenity Bay, adult beach.

Here is Linda Mac enjoying a cool beverage.

Linda Mac


I decided to do a training walk for my Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. I walked a good bit of the trails on the island but it was getting increasingly hotter and more humid. After 2 hours, I finally decided I had enough. I saw some neat views along the way, but didn't have a camera with me. Take a walk down the bike trails sometimes.... it was lots of fun.

I headed back to the ship to shower and get lunch. I enjoyed sitting on my balcony and just relaxing. Maybe I just should have called this the Balcony Cruise.

As more and more clouds rolled in the skies got darker and darker. Soon the rain began, and it was quite hard. I then looked out and saw everyone from the island trying to get back to the ship. It was quite a site. I even found all my friends walking back as well.


masayodcl15.jpg

masayodcl15.jpg

masayodcl15.jpg

We decided to go see the Disney Dreams show this evening, so everyone got ready and met at the Walt Disney Theatre.

On our way, we found Goofy in his tux in the atrium. Masayo is such a Goofy fan so we stopped and took pics of Masayo and Mamoru with the man!!!!

Goofy, Masayo, Mamoru

Our final dinner was in Animator's Palete.
Animator's Palete

All too soon, we had to get back to our cabins, finish packing and call it a night.

It was a WONDERful cruise, just way too short.....aren't they all?!

Related Links:

Navigators from the 3 Night Cruise

Castaway Cay Photo Gallery

Disney Cruise Reviews

April 1, 2008

3 Night Disney Wonder Cruise Getaway Part 3 Nassau

One of my favorite things about a balcony cabin is the ability to order Room Service Coffee and just relax watching the sun rise and set. On this morning, there were plenty of clouds, but the sun did shine through.

Nassau Sunrise


We arrived in Nassau and I had, from the beginning, no intentions of getting off the ship. At 8am I went to my Vista Spa appointment for a stone massage. I really love these massages and it was just what I needed to get my body to relax.

View from our cabin on Deck 8:

Nasssau

Nassau

The ladies spent a great morning together in the cabin, chatting and sharing stories. Not sure where Mamoru was. LOL.

Eventually we made our way to Tritons for Lunch. This was definetly a lazy lazy day. Just relaxing and enjoying. I can't honestly recall what we did during the afternoon. I know I thought about going to a movie, but never got there.

The 3 night cruise was already going WAY too fast!! Tonight was Pirate night, but we had reservations for Palo so no Captain Hook for us!

LindaLou and Deb at Palo


Zoran was our server and he was great as always. We met Zoran several years ago in the main dining room and he has since been "promoted" to Palo. We always request a table in his section.

Zoran and Deb


One thing we noticed in Palo is that it was much more crowded and the servers seemed to have much less time for each table. We are guessing it was because on the 3 night, they try to accomodate as many cruisers as possible.


Here is the sun setting in Nassau.

Nassau Sunset

Tomorrow our last day on board and Castway Cay!

Related Links:

Navigators from the 3 Night Cruise

Nassau Photo Gallery

Disney Cruise Reviews

March 24, 2008

3 Night Disney Wonder Cruise Getaway Part 2 Embarkation Day

This would be LindaMac's 2nd Disney Cruise and Masayo and Mamoru's FIRST cruise!!! Beci, LindaLou and I have stopped counting LOL!!

Masayo and Mamoru had no idea Linda Mac would be joining us. After enjoying our breakfast at Gaylord Palms, LindaMac, Linda Lou and I were picked up by Happy Limo in a stretch. We headed to the Boardwalk to surprise Masayo and Mamoru. Surprise them we did!

Masayo and Mamoru


During our ride to the Port, I pointed out one place where we could see the Disney Wonder!
I still get excited when we see the DIsney ship off in a distance and I still get goosebumps when I check my bags with the porters and head inside the terminal.

Deb, LindaMac, Masayo and Mamoru

This cruise was all about relaxing and enjoying friends. Plus, we had the extra bonus of seeing Masayo and Mamoru first experience through their eyes.

Masayo flitted from character to character in the Port. She was grinning from ear to ear.

Masayo and MInnie

Things were pretty hectic for us at the Port. Usually they aren't but we spent time checking on this and that. We were glad when we were finally able to board. Masayo and Mamoru really enjoyed their first moments on the Disney Wonder!
The Disney Wonder Welcomes the Kano Family!

Once onboard, we made our way down Deck 3 to Parrot Cay. Lunch is offered both here and on Deck 9 Embarkation Day. The food is the same, just different setups. We prefer Parrot Cay. The characters were all out during lunch -- Stitch, despite his outfit had a HUGE Badneess Level going on. He mussed everyone's hair at our table.

Stitch, Masayo and Mamoru

After lunch it was about 1:20pm; cabins are ready at 1:30pm, so we went to Deck 7 and wait. Someone sprinkled a bunch of Pixie Dust on Masayo and Mamoru as they were unknowingly upgraded from an inside cabin to one with a verandah! They were speachless.

Entering the Cabin on Deck 7

After dropping them off, we went to deposit our luggage in our cabin. Soon, we all met up again for a tour of the Vista Spa. Masayo, LindaMac, and LindaLou all fell in love with the Rainforest heated stone chairs.

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After seeing all the wonderful spa areas we walked into the Fitness Center. Look who was on the tread mill!

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Then he tried to take my camera!

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Not sure what we did next, but all too soon it was time to get ready for the Safety Drill. Linda Mac and LindaLou were hamming it up before the alarm sounded.

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Immediately after the Safety Drill, it's time for the Sail Away Party.
The Action takes place on Deck 9. For those who want to watch from above, Deck 10 is a great place to hang out.


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Mamoru captured as much as he could on video.


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Dinner this evening was in Parrot Cay. We were so excited to have Egi, our server from December, take care of us. He was awesome as always!!!!!


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March 18, 2008

3 Night Disney Wonder Cruise Getaway Part 1 Gaylord Palms

Every now and again, I need to escape to my favorite place. What? you ask - aren't you there all the time? Yes, it does seem like I"m there quite a bit. But I need to get away to RELAX; not as someone who has appointments or research items or a large to do list.

One of the ways I visit my favorite place and relax is by taking a Disney cruise. I do not plan any meets and just use the time for myself and my friends. No meetings, no research...well, there is always the desire to take photographs.

A number of months ago, several of us decided to take a Winter break and head to the Bahamas; the 3 night Disney Wonder Cruise. On this journey were Masayo and Mamoru (Japan), Beci Mahnken (Washington State), Linda Mac (Florida) and LindaLou and myself (Maryland).

We'd fly down Wednesday after work and then head to the port on Thursday.

I decided to check out my new 2008 advertiser, Gaylord Palms and made a reservation for one night.
While I had toured Gaylord Palms before, I had never stayed there. I did not make any special arrangements with my contact person. I simply made a reservation like anyone else would. The online reservation process worked very well. We requested a Florida View King Non-Smoking room and that was exactly what we received.

The room was really nice and big. We had plenty of area to have our suitcases out and move around!

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There is a resort fee of $16.95 per room per night which includes: daily newspaper delivered to your guest room door; wireless internet access in your guest room and in public spaces throughout the hotel in the three atriums (St. Augustine, Everglades & Key West); in-room high speed internet access; two bottles of Dasani water delivered daily to your guest room refrigerator; complimentary local and toll free telephone calls (up to 20 minutes); use of Canyon Ranch SpaClub fitness center; complimentary scheduled shuttle bus service to Walt Disney World theme parks and a free bucket of range balls at nearby Falcon's Fire Golf Club.

Arriving late like we did after plane travel, I have to say we were very glad to have 2 cold bottles of water waiting for us in the room. We also used the in-room internet service and enjoyed the newspaper.

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The next morning, Linda Mac met LindaLou and I for breakfast at Villa de Flora. It's a buffet which includes an omelet station. I joked with LindaMac that there was an entire area just for carnivors :) There were a wide variety of options to choose from. Our server was quite good.

In fact, all the employees we encountered at Gaylord Palms were above average, some exceptional!

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And after breakfast we toured the atriums. In the St. Augustine area, there is a gator pond!
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I look forward to staying here again in the near future and enjoy more of the resort. Oh, and if you are in the Orlando area during December, be sure to check out ICE! a unique winter experience at Gaylord Palms!

Stay tuned for Part 2 as we gather all our personal belongings and head to the Port!

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June 17, 2007

Mediterranean Cruise Info Update

There is so much Med Cruise information that I decided to consolidate it all into one resource page.

Complete Navigator's from the 11 night cruise, thanks to Gary the Guide.

Excursion reviews!

Photo links as we get them online.... it is taking a while to filter through the thousands of pictures!

I recently was a guest on WDW Today podcast and spoke about my experiences on the cruise!

The resource page not only has links back to our blogs, but also links to blogs of folks cruising throughout the summer.

Deb - Life IT too short.

June 10, 2007

Cruising the Med - Back to Barcelona and Home - 6/6/07

All good things must come to an end and this cruise is no exception.

We got off the ship on Wednesday morning after our 8am breakfast seating. There was a great deal of confusion outside the terminal in terms of what bus would take us to the Disney-reserved hotel. Finally found the correct bus (they weren't labled) and realized it was going to stop at all the Disney reserved hotels. No problem. Until the first stop and someone on the bus said to make sure and check your luggage. Good thing, because a couple times, bags were taken off the bus to get someone else's and then mistakenly put on the trolley to the hotel. Chris managed to snag one of Beci's suitcases which was headed for this fate.

Once back at the Diagonal Mar Hilton, we were VERY excited that our room was ready. We headed up to settle in and wait until 12:25pm when we could log onto British Airways and get our seat assignments for the return trip.

Also we had to get our hotel to airport transfer for the next day straightened out. We were given a time of less than 2.5 hours from our flight and we really wanted at least 3 hours in advance to be picked up. Once again, there was confusion with the local transport team (part of the experience when you are the first cruisers). We were told we'd have a message on our room phone when we returned that evening.

Beci, Chris, Linda and I headed across the street to the Diagonal Mar and had lunch at a Tapas Cafe. While the menu had some English translations and our server spoke some English, there is still a difference in how food is prepared, even though it may be translated into something we are familiar with! Once this adventure was through, we headed up the street for our afternoon adventure.

For those staying in the Diagonal Mar Area, if you need an ATM machine, there is one in the lobby of the Princess Hotel.

Barcelona Bus Turistic

Off to the Barcelona Bus Turistic for an afternoon tour! We highly recommend this as a way to see Barcelona. For 19 Euros you can ride all day and get on and off when you like. I don't think we ever waited more than 10 minutes at any stop for a bus. There are 3 separate colored routes (Green, red, blue) and we did all three. It's a double decker bus, with the lower area enclosed and open air on top. We enjoyed the top side view almost our entire ride. This enabled us to get lots of photos!

We parted ways with Beci and Chris when Linda and I transfered from the Green to the Red Line. We wanted to visit Park Guell. Created by architect Antoni Gaudi, this mountain side has been transformed into a park for the people (no fee to enter). It is an incredible exhibit if architecture and imagination. There really aren't words to describe it..so here is a website to visit. We'll also be getting pics online too! Linda at Park Guell


Exhausted at the end of our city tour, about 7pm, we headed back to the Hilton for tapas with Beci and Chris.

We did not have the promised msg on the phone so we had to get in touch with DCL to find out what the story was. It was very bizzare because the local number listed in the DCL information somehow transfered me back to Florida. The person there called the Barcelona folks.. what a mess. Good thing was, it all got worked out :)

I went downtstairs to join everyone for dinner. You could tell all 4 of us were tired and mostly ready to get back home and into our own beds! We parted ways after dinner and bid the last of our traveling companions "Til we meet again".

Linda in Business Class Up the next morning, breakfast in the hotel, and then off to the airport. For us, the trip home was uneventful yet magical. No long delays in Heathrow, whew!. This time we were upgraded to business class. I cried when I sat in the seat. It was like heaven. What a nice trip home. Finally got in around 10pm East Coast Time after leaving our Barcelona hotel at 10am Spain time.

It was indeed, a trip of a lifetime with dozens, no maybe hundreds of images and stories and laughs to remember. Good friends, good times and what an incredible adventure!

Deb and Linda - Life -- IT Too Short!

Complete 2007 Mediterranean Cruise Information - Navigators, Blogs, Photos, Excursion Reviews, Podcasts and more!

Other Mediterranean Blogs from AllEars®
Glo from Miami
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June 9, 2007

Med Reader Mailbag #3

Here's the latest batch of Blog Feedback Questions and Answers:
Robyn writes: Our family will be cruising on 7/7/07! We have previously sailed the eastbound Panama Canal trip and that was fantastic. We are looking forward to wonderful time. My first question is, what kind of camera are you using? (your pictures are beautiful). Second, Disney has arranged our flights. We are flying into Frankfurt with only 40 minutes between connecting flights. Is this as bad as I think it's going to be? We are staying a couple days after the cruise in Barcelona so we can see the city. Any advice? Can you tell I've never flown to Europe

Deb replies: My camera is a Canon, S2 IS (the latest model in that series is a S3 IS). I'm very pleased with it overall, but especially with outside photos. Glad you like the pics.

Regarding your connecting flight - not having flown into Frankfurt I can't really answer your question. Make sure your bags are checked from your origin to your destination.

Barcelona is a great city. I would highly recommend the Bus Turistic. For $19 Euros each you can tour all day, get on and off. We loved it. Just buy your tickets when you get on the bus, no need to purchase in advance!

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Eric writes: My family is leaving for the 11 night that sails on June 16th. One question we had is with the ship boarding starting so early what are the dining options that night or would you suggest boarding later and eating on shore in Barcelona? Also, is Barcelona an open port to get on and off or once on are you on like in Florida?

Deb replies: Dining options for the first night are your regular dining seating or room service. I'll have to see if Topsiders was open, but I'm fairly certain it was.

You can get on and off the ship in Barcelona - so enjoy your day in the city.

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Beth: You mentioned that you bought olive oil and wine while in France. How are you getting that home? I am concerned about carrying liquids in my carry-on baggage, and I'm also concerned about checking it! Do you have any advice? Have a safe trip home. We're heading to the Disney Cruise August 8th.


Deb Replies: You have to take your chances. We packed the bottles individually in bubble wrap (brought from home), put them in large ziplock bags, wrapped them in clothes, and packed them in the middle of our suitcases. They all arrived safely. We weren't sure if they'd be pulled out by security along the way; but all was fine. Also, I declared them all at customs and there was no problem. Each adult is allowed one bottle of "alcohol".

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Scottishwee35 writes: I am exciting for my Disney Cruise on 18th July. Question for Jumping into External - Rome, that we have been booking it for our Disney Cruise in July. We take our two children (10 and 7). I wonder if they have kids menu?

Deb Replies: The meals we were at had spaghetti and meatballs for the kids. I seem to recall seeing fries at some point too. We never had "menus" for any meal included in our excursion. Some were buffet and some were plates brought to your place at the table.

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Pamela writes: We will be leaving on the 10 night cruise on June 27th. My question to you is that on the very first day of the cruise we have booked Palo as our evening meal that day so that we can be finished before the ship sails that evening at 9pm and we so enjoyed Palo last cruise and wanted to start off with something special. Our normal dining will be second session (I believe that is at 8:30pm) so we didn't want to be in the middle of dinner when we set sail. Do you think this is a good plan?? Or did Disney make other arrangements that evening for dining since they know they set sail at 9pm and usually have a sail away party. We don't want to waste a reservation at Palo.

Deb Replies: The sail away party was tight getting to from our late dining seating; however we made it just fine. If you have an early Palo seating, you should be fine. My personal choice is to not have anything planned after Palo dinner so that it can be very relaxing. Again, if you have it early, you should be fine.

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Diane writes: My family is scheduled for the Med. cruise June 26, we have 2 boys 10 and 11. We have done over a dozen Disney Cruises and we are looking forward to this one. Unfortunately we booked just last week and have found all of Palo reservations gone ( any hints on this ..do they have res. when you checked in at ship and is there waiting lists on this cruise) We went on 7 day Eastern and lucked out 2 days with the waiting list. Many of the excursions are booked too, so your information is extremely helpful. The internet connection has been mentioned a few times..Is the connection at the internet cafe ( on the ship's system just as unpredictable?:) We were going to bring our lap top for the first time so that we could unload photos.

Deb replies:
A certain number of Palo ressies are generally saved embarkation day reservations. You'll receive the standard "Welcome Aboard" flyer and it will tell you where to go for Palo reservations.

Also visit the Excursions Desk when you board the ship. Some tours have slots available for boarding day. Don't hesitate to ask to be put on a wait list - you never know!

Internet is all the same now, whether you access it wireless or at the Internet Cafe. The Cafe, by the way, usually had waiting lines on sea days. You can also do wireless from your room on your laptop. Cove Cafe (Deck 9) has a few laptops you can use in the cafe.

Complete 2007 Mediterranean Cruise Information - Navigators, Blogs, Photos, Excursion Reviews, Podcasts and more!

Other Mediterranean Blogs from AllEars®
Glo from Miami
Guest Blogs - including Chris and Beci Mahnken


June 7, 2007

Cruising the Med - 6/5/07 - at Sea

Our final day at sea, but sadly, that also means our last full day onboard.

We were happy to sleep in as most days our excursions had us up very early! After breakfast we returned to the room and started cleaning up and packing. At 11:30 Pirates 3 was showing so we decided to go watch it. Linda liked it better than the first time. We both thought it was probably 40-60 minutes too long. There were some off the wall parts that could have been cut and kept the storyline just fine. I thought it was average... nothing special, but fun in parts. I loved the ending, so be sure and stay past the credits!!!!

After the movie, we went back to pack some more and catch up with some blogs.

We called our dining companions and told them we were going to skip the Farewell show and head to the lounge. Slowly but surely most everyone showed up. We drank martinis, wine and danced to the Macarena!

Luggage had to be in the hallways by 10, so I went up before dinner to put ours out. Would have been nice to have time to do so after the late dining... but what can you do!

Soon, time for our farewell dinner. This is always sad as it signals the end of the cruise. Time for hugs and "til we meet again" for all friends, old and new. Many thanks to all the All Ears readers who introduced themselves! We met some great folks on the cruise who made it even more special. There are too many of you to name, but you know who you are (like Ms. Da-Kar-ei!)

We stayed at dinner as long as we could....talked about next year's Panama Canal cruise that many of us are on (Fla - LA), and began to discuss possible cruises for 2009. Yes, we are cruise addicts!!!

Slowly, we all made our way to our cabins. All the door decorations are gone now and the room is left with our overnight bags only. It looks so empty.

We had 8am breakfast on Wednesday and everyone gathered, except Glo and Gary. Later found out they decided to leave the ship early.

Guide Gary gave Linda and I our final instructions for the Bus Touristo and assured us we could do it on our own. LOL.

Will write about our Barcelona tour in the next post.

We can't believe this amazing adventure is almost over.

Deb and Linda

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June 6, 2007

Cruising the Med - Villefranche, France 6/4/07

Today we visit Villefranche, France, our last port of call on this incredible journey.
Arrive: 8:00am
Depart: 11:30pm

This morning I finally caught the sunrise and it was spectacular!

Sunrise in Villefranche


If you've been reading since the beginning, you know that we really wanted to book one tour over all others, the Convertible car tour of the Cote d' Azur (French Rivera). We tried at 3am to book at the first opportunity and it was not available.

We waited until a couple weeks prior to leaving for the cruise and finally decided to join some of our travel mates on the Monaco, Monte Carlo and Eze excursion. Once we boarded the Magic, Linda asked if I thought we'd have any luck going to the Excursion desk to see about the car tour. I said, the worse that would happen is we wouldn't get it.
So, she spoke with the folks there and they said they would email the company and see what they could do.

Lo and behold three nights ago, we had a phone message that a car WAS available for us on the tour. We were SO excited. Our friends Rob and Keith had already gotten on the tour, so we called to share the great news. A couple days later, Sandy and Sharon, who we are traveling with, also were able to score a car.

Sandy and Sharon


We sat this morning in Sessions Lounge anxiously awaiting our call to tender and get the cars! At this point, things got very frustrating and confusing. The excursion description led us to believe that a car would be assigned to us. So, when we got to the area with the cars, most of us just stood there looking. We then realized folks were picking out the car they wanted...and it was a bit of a frenzy. The tour company was not very organized, and we kept getting bits and pieces of information. Linda jumped in front of the red BMW convertible and announced it as hers! Sandy and Sharon were left with an old antique car, model unknown. It was later dubbed the Cruella deVille car. They were really psyched. Sadly, the excitement for them ended here. Their car kept stalling and the gas tank read empty. One of the tour agents kept saying we wouldn't need a lot of gas, but empty was empty. Then he tried to say the fuel gage was broken, but what good would that do on unfamiliar roadways.

Several other cars, including ours, only had ¼ tank of gas. We expected full tanks, or at least half a tank. Also the excursion description said we would be given 2 routes we could follow. Well, there may have been two in the booklet, but there were NO maps and we could barely figure out the directions.

Finally, I went to find a Disney rep and had them come over. They did their best to get things situated. Unfortunately, the only other car available for Sandy and Sharon was a Mini Cooper with a sunroof, not a convertible. They decided to opt out of the excursion. We later found out they were given a refund on the excursion and the agent comped them a tour that he was about to begin. After everything was said and done, they were happy and had a wonderful day.

Narrow Roads along the coast


Our friends Rob and Keith took the lead of our two cars and the journey was underway for us. Rob and Keith drove a beige MG. We drove on the Corniche, but I couldn't tell you which ones, since we had no maps. The views were magnificent. Linda and Rob, the drivers, were in heaven. It was very surreal. All Linda kept telling me was to take more photos! I was happy to oblige.


Deb and Linda in the BMW

The plan was to eventually go to Nice for lunch at a place Rob picked out on line. We drove for well over an hour along the French Riviera through Eze, and Monaco. We were all having a royal grand time! At some point, we pulled into an overlook to enjoy the view. We then decided to circle back to Nice and get some lunch. Rob took us on a great tour of downtown Nice, where all the locals are. The stores were quite amazing, as well as the casino buildings.

Eventually we made our way to the shore side of Nice and found the café. Parking was a huge issue/adventure. We'll just leave it at that. We sat outside and looked over the marina full of yachts. Here we were - drove ourselves in convertibles to Nice, cruised along the Corniche and now enjoying lunch in a café in the French Riviera. Doesn't get much better!

Rob and Keith


By now it was time to return the cars to the port. We took a drive along the last ten minutes of sea shore. Stopped in a magnificent overlook to take photos of the Magic and then back to reality!

All to quickly we were back onboard the Disney Magic.

Disney Magic in the harbour


We relaxed and took a nap. When we awoke we made our way on deck and treated ourselves to a snack. When we sat down we found Rob and Keith a few tables over. We joined them and began to reminisce about the day as we looked out at the beautiful scenery that the South of France has to offer. It was then time to get ourselves cleaned up and go catch the show Dreams. We really enjoyed the enhance version and enjoyed the addition of Timon and Pumba.

After another great dinner with friends, we made our way up to the 10th deck to view the fireworks show that the town of Villefranche put on for us. It was a wonderful and unexpected treat! Afterwards, several of our travel companions met in the Promenade Lounge and enjoyed an evening night cap filled with stories and laughter.


Fireworks at Port Villefranche
Tomorrow is a sea day which also means our last full day on the Disney Magic.


Deb and Linda - Life -- IT Too Short!

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June 5, 2007

Med Reader Mailbag #2

Med Cruise Mailbag!

Thanks to everyone for all your feedback! It encourages us to stay as current as we can and share our adventures. We're glad we can take you all with us, albeit thru our writings! Keep those emails coming!

John (Tagrel's WDWNJ) writes: Deb - we are enjoying your entries so much!!! Cathy (Big Red) and I visited Italy in 1978 and your stories and pictures are bringing back so many wonderful memories! I hope we find time in Harrisburg or Mousefest to sit and talk about your trip. I want to hear more and see all of your pictures.

Deb: I do plan to add many many more photos once back at home. At MagicMeets in Harrisburg, my talk is about the Disney Cruise Line, so I will add a bit on the Med Cruise as well!

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Luciann writes:
Thank you for the excellent blog!! We are eagerly awaiting our june 27 10 day but I am wondering if you have any sense of whether we should book excursions through Disney or try to do our own. The one in Rome you did sound great and I signed us up for that. If you have any details of good places to go in the ports on your own (this gets very pricey) or tours that are with other operators that are recommended that would be great.

Deb: We are conservative excursion goers, meaning, we prefer to pay the premium to book thru Disney so that we have an someone from the ship looking after our interests should something go wrong. That said, several of the friends we are sailing with are doing their own excursions.

If you read Glo's blog from the Amalfi coast, you'll see they hired a driver and had an awesome time. Likewise, we did Monserrat (Barcelona) on our own with fellow cruiser Gary the Guide . I will have more info from Gary once I get back home.

Rome is probably not doable on your own, but Florence is. You could take the Disney bus to Florence (Florence on your own) and do all the walking to the sites.

My best advice is to research research research! And allow plenty of time for traffic and delays in transportation so that you do not miss the ship leaving the port!

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Leslie: Rick, the kids and I are boarding the Magic on Wednesday, can hardly wait! The excursion info you post, again most informative! And I have enjoyed Glo's articles as well. One question.....what are the temps like in this region?

Deb: The temps on our trip have been in the low 70s and relatively low humidity. I've been wearing very light long pants and long sleeve shirt and most comfortable. Linda has been wearing short sleeves and capris. For those of you coming in July or August, keep in mind it gets VERY hot here. Please check weather.com for 10 day temps to see what you'll need to pack.

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Susan: My husband is a workaholic and plans on bringing laptop and Skype phone on ship. Do you know if the Skype will work with the internet connection on board?

Deb: Skype does NOT work on the ship. I read this from those on the transatlantic cruise so did not bring my headset. I have not heard of anyone with success on Skype, DCL has blocked it.
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Polly Rosenberger
-- Embarkation Day Questions - What time does the boarding begin for the Magic? What time do you it is best to return to the ship if you want to tour Barcelona? Shopping on Board Question - Is there a lot of Mediterranean merchandise in the shops?

Deb: Our bus from the Diagonal Mar hotel left about 12:30. Boarding on the ship began around that time. It's not like Florida's port terminal where there is room to sit and relax. It's all business to check in and go.

There is some Med merchandise in the cruise shops, however, these shops are small and therefore merchandise is limited. Lots of open edition pins, one for each port. Some t-shirts and sweatshirts. A few other smaller items.

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June 4, 2007

Cruising the Med - 6/3/07 - Marseille, France

Today we visit Marseille, France
Arrive: 8:00am
Depart: 9:00pm

Our Excursion: Castellet and Wine Tasting

Our journey began with at approximately 1pm with a 75 minute ride from Marseille to Le Castellet - a medieval village in the hills of the Var Region. The village features a 12th century church and an 11th century castle. Our guide, Jane, was most chatty and informative on our drive to the village. We had a brief tour of downtown Marseille and then off to the village.

We drove along the coast for a while and Jane talked about ship building, wines of the Bandol region and the olives! We had no idea that France is the 4th largest producer of olive oil! She went into great detail about wine making and what the appellation on a French wine means.

Le Casetellet
The day was just beautiful weather wise. We couldn't ask for any better. Blue skies and low 70s. When we arrived at Le Castellet - we had a 30 minute optional walking tour and 30 minutes on our own.

During the walking tour, Jane showed us highlights of this beautiful village, a photographers dream. We wanted to take pictures of everything it was like looking in a photographer's book! The village was filled with rolling hills, little shops and cafes, flowers in the windows and beautiful old stone buildings.

Deb and Linda with the Street Performer


We would have loved more time in the village. Unfortunately, there are not many public restrooms in Europe, well at least where we've been. When we do get a short break in our tours, we end up spending it looking for toilets. This was the case here too! A café manager took pity on us and allowed us to use their restrooms. The cafes are about the only place to find toilets and of course, it's for their patrons. We would have stopped for a snack there, but had no time.

All too soon, we loaded our tour bus for Domaine de Souviou, a 20 minute drive from the village. Very picturesque, beautiful flowers and very serene. We toured the grounds, which had magnificent views, and saw 1000 year old olive trees. Our guide from the vineyard explained the process of making olive oil. At this location, they made 2 kinds of olive oils. Plinia, which is a fruity light olvie oil to be used with salads and for bread dipping. Selvatica, was made from the 1000 year old vines - more robust to be used with heavier foods like beef and game. It had a peppery taste. We found both olive oils very tasty and purchased a bottle of each.

Next we were led into a very simple yet elegant tasting room. A long table was set out with 3 kinds of wines, a white, rose and red cuvee, along with rosemary bread between wine courses. The white, Bandol Blanc, aged in steel, fruity with hints of floral; clean and crisp - like a Savionon Blanc.

Domaine de Souviou Tasting Room


The rose, Cotes de Provence Rose, had granache, cinsault, and syrah grapes. It was light with an aroma of apricots and peaches. The Cotes de Provence Rouge, was a 2002 which was still young and had strong tannins. However, we were told it would bottle well for 12-16 years. We felt it had much promise so purchased a bottle of that as well.

After we tasted the wines, we had the opportunity to taste both olive oils. Some of us lingered a long time LOL.

A one hour trip back to Marseille and our most relaxing day in the South of France had come to an end. We LOVED the excursion very much. Very relaxing, very enjoyable. Just wish we had much longer to enjoy the village and perhaps sample some of the foods and wines.

We highly recommend this excursion.

We were back on board the Magic about 6:15 and hurried to the Walt Disney Theatre to see the new show, Mickey's Dreams. If you liked the music from Tapestry of Nations/Dreams and enjoy Cirque shows, you will enjoy this one!! It was very artsy. There were amazing acrobats throughout the show. We later learned they are a troupe out of Marseille and this show will only be performed on the Magic Med cruises. Out of our group, there were very strong opinions on both sides. Some of us loved it - for its artistic balance of music and acrobatics. Others in our group did not care for it at all. But, like I said, if you like the Tapestry of Nations/Dreams music and Cirque, this is a do not miss show!

From the show we hurried back to our room to change for dinner at Palo, magnificent as always although our server seemed to be missing lots and not nearly as attentive as we are used to in Palos. The food was as wonderful as always.

Thus our first day in the south of France was very enjoyable.

Deb Daily Recap:
Highs: Learning about French Olive oil.
Lows: Only 3 wines to taste; service in Palo, not enough time in village

Linda Daily Recap:
Highs: Photograph opportunities in the Le Cassetlet village.
Lows: Service in Palo.


Deb and Linda - Life -- IT Too Short!

Complete 2007 Mediterranean Cruise Information -
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Other Mediterranean Blogs from AllEars®
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June 3, 2007

Cruising the Med - 6/2/07 - La Spezia (Florence, Pisa), Italy

Today we visit La Spezia (Florence, Pisa), Italy
Arrive: 7:30am
Depart: 7:30 pm

Arriving at La Spezia


It was hard to decide which excursion to take... but after much thought we decided on Florence and Michelangelo. While we both had an interest in seeing Pisa, we decided it'd be best to focus our time in Florence.

Our Excursion: Ten and a half hours!!!!!!

We boarded a motor coach for a 2.5 hour ride through Tuscany, past the cities of Lucca and Prato and we arrive in Florence! Lots of scenic country side. We went through the Marble quarries, olive groves and nursery farms. Our guide, Paola, was very informative and talked to us most of the way pointing out various sites and buildings.

La Spezia


Before I begin talking about our actual time in Florence, please keep the following in mind. It was a national Italian Holiday! It was a Saturday. Think of a major US city on a holiday where all the people and tourists are out and about. To say it was crowded was an understatement!

We left the bus and began our 2.5 mile walking tour of Florence. This was the city Linda was most excited about seeing. At first the streets were not busy, but soon we were on the street of the Accadmeia Museum, home of Michelangelo's David. It was packed. Fortunately, our tour included timed tickets, so our wait to enter was about 15 minutes. Once again, we went thru metal detectors (like in the airports). No photos of any kind were allowed in the museum.

In the first room we saw a sculpture called "The Rape"�, actually a model for the final piece. Our guide spent a great deal of time pointing out the specifics of the sculpture, it felt like Art History class. While I wasn't very thrilled with the theme, I did enjoy the art of the piece.

From here we entered a hallway dedicated to Michelangelo. The first half of the hallway had several sculptures from his "Prisoner"� series. He was commissioned to make many of these, but only did 4-5. These were unfinished sculptures.

We couldn't help but be drawn to the end of the room where David was located. Standing 17 feet tall on a huge pedestal, this has to be the most incredible sculpture Linda and I have ever seen. We couldn't take our eyes off of it. The detail was incredible. Really, there are no words to describe the beauty of this piece of art. It was worth the 2.5 hour drive to Florence to see. As we slowly made our way around David, our guide described what to see in great detail. It was just magnificent!

From here, things just went downhill for us. The crowds were barely passable and very unmanageable. It was so congested we rarely felt safe stopping to take photos. We were concerned we'd either lose our group or be victims of crime. Our guide kept warning us to be aware of pick pockets and to protect our belongings. At one point she had us in an area off to the side of the public plaza - our attention focused on her - all of a sudden she started yelling in Italian and we realized a thief had made his way into our group and was attempting to steal from someone. Suddenly our group of 40 cruisers became best friends, huddling together as we walked and looking out for each other. It was very stressful.

(Again, from here it is now very confusing to remember where we went. We had little time to stop for photographs and are following a map of our travels.)

We did see the Campanile di Giotto, Orsanmichele, Galleria dell'Orcagna, and Ponte Vecchio. Both Linda and I were really looking forward to seeing this bridge. Actually, we had hoped to walk over it but that was not part of our tour. We were across the way from the bridge. We barely got to see it through the crowds. It was so difficult to get to the railing for a photo. Again, the crowds really took away from our excitement and enjoyment. It was hurry up, look and go.

At some point, while in a marketplace, there was a Wild Boar statue - touching its nose would bring you good fortune to return to Florence. Sad to say, neither of us wanted to touch the nose, but with hesitation Linda finally did.

Lunch was at the Palazzo Borghese. A several course meal that began with sliced meats of salami, proscuitto and bread. There were bottles of wine and water at the table. Then we were served penne pasta with ground beef and peas, and spinach ravioli. Followed by a most delicious and tender piece of beef, like a pot roast, with potatoes and creamed spinach. Next, dessert, tiramisu! We actually were the last table to leave lunch as we had met a fellow cruiser and had a most wonderful time talking.

Our next and final stop was S. Croce Church plaza. Here was a statue of Dante that was just magnificent (you'll see in our photos). Then we had 20 minutes on our own. We went off in search of a gelato shop and had a new flavor, Torrone - tasted just like the candy!

Soon, it was time to meet and walk to the bus pickup point. We were exhausted, not from all the walking and standing, but from the stress of the crowds.

This tour had a great deal of standing and walking, several hours. The guide was excellent. We only wish the crowds were much fewer as it really ruined the city for us.

Most of us slept on the bus back to the port. La Specia was a beautiful port town, with many flowers and plantings.

Tonight's show was the Crew Talent Show and Dancing with the Stars duo Joey Fatone and Kim were to dance! Unfortunately, we didn't get back to the ship in time for the first show and the late show conflicted with dinner. We heard it was fun!

We did have some time prior to dinner and went to Promenade lounge just in time for TV Tune Trivia! Well, 5 of us put our heads together and won first place! For that, we received DCL medals that said: "I'm a winner"�. It was fun.

We had hoped to celebrate our sailing mate Sandy's birthday tonight at dinner, unfortunately she wasn't feeling well and skipped dinner.

Deb and Linda - Life -- IT Too Short!

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Cruising the Med - at Sea 6/1/07

Deb and Linda write:

WHEW! Today we are at SEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's been a whirlwind tour of Italy and while it's been fascinating and beyond words, we are SO looking forward to a day at Sea to catch up with ourselves and our travel companions!

We had an excellent brunch at Palo -.the food, magnificent as always. We had the private room and all of our dinner companions were present. About half the group had not had Palo brunch before and thoroughly enjoyed it.

After brunch, we returned to the cabin where I caught up on blogs and photos. We sat with friends and talked the afternoon away. Towards dinner, Linda was not feeling so great. The seas were pretty rough ... so we relaxed in the cabin and dined in.

All in all a nice relaxing day to get ready for Florence!

Tonight's show was Twice Charmed which we weren't thrilled with when we saw it before, so we didn't even consider attending.

We really had hoped for Pirates to be showing today, a sea day, but it was not. In fact, there weren't many options of things to do... hence, our day of relaxation.

Deb - Life -- IT Too Short!

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June 1, 2007

Cruising the Med - Rome Photos 2

Linda settles in for our one hour city tour.


Linda settles in for our one hour city tour.


Deb inside the Colosseum


Deb inside the Colosseum

Imagine the Colosseum floor on top of these pillars!


Imagine the Colosseum floor on top of these pillars!

Colosseum


Colosseum.

Colosseum


Colosseum.

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Cruising the Med - Rome Photos Part 1

Rome Photos

Buses line up at the Port for our excursions
Buses line up at the Port for our excursions


Disney Magic in Port Civitaveccia
Disney Magic in Port Civitaveccia


Chris shows our listening devices for the tour.
Disney Magic in Port Civitaveccia


Our first view of the Vatican, as we stepped off the bus.
 Our first view of the Vatican, as we stepped off the bus.

Linda settles in for our one hour tour
Linda settles in for our one hour tour


Colosseum
Colosseum


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Cruising the Med - Deb and Linda visit Rome!

Today, May 31, 2007 we visit Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy
Arrive: 7:30am
Depart: 9:30pm

Today was a most beautiful weather day, perfect for touring outside. Sunny blue skies, with a small breeze.

The Port city of Civitavecchia is approximately 2 hours from Rome.

Entering the Port of Civitavecchia:

Entering the Port of Civitavecchia

Our Excursion: Jumping back into Eternal Rome.
This was one of the hardest ports to decide on an excursion. All the itineraries had a little of something we wanted to see, but nothing had everything! We had to make some tough choices but decided this tour would give us the most of what we were interested in. It gave us a taste of Rome and we approached it that way.

At the ship, we boarded a bus that took us to the train station. We then boarded the Roma Express Train to St. Peter's Station in Rome. The seats were red leather and quite comfortable. There was a Disney surprise onboard the train to the delight of everyone. After getting off the train we met up with our official Rome tour guide.

While on the train we were given headsets to allow us to hear the guide. Unfortunately, these were not as nice as the ones in Naples and continually fell out of my ears. Most of the time, I just said to Linda - tell me the important information!

Important Note: The train causes your ears to pop on several occasions. Those with young children, please be aware! It hurt the ears of several of the younger ones and they were crying and unhappy. Bring earplanes!!!

We had approximately a one hour tour aboard a motor coach where the guide showed us some of the highlights of ancient Rome including Circus Maximus where the chariot races took place. Our first stop was the Roman Colosseum for a one hour guided tour. Before entering we passed thru a metal detector and our backpacks also went through screening.

We entered thru the same archway as the Emperor would have entered the colosseum. It was very surreal - and we were overwhelmed realizing this was the beginnings of civilization as we know it. Rome, the eternal city. We spent about an hour here... mostly guided but then we were able to go to the upper deck on our own. Note that the stairs were VERY steep making climbing difficult. No natural rise as you would think of American stairs. There were 3 flights of them and there was at least a handrail to grab onto.

Then back on the bus for approximately 20 minutes. Next stop, the Trevi Fountain! This area was very, very crowded. It was hard to get to the front of the fountain, but we did. Linda and I then each thru in a coin - tradition is put the coin in the right hand and throw it over your left shoulder. One coin means you will return to Rome. Two coins mean you will soon get married. Three coins mean you are headed for divorce! Linda thought it would be neat to phone home - she called her sister Wanda and I called Debbie Koma! It was 6am back home but both ladies were thrilled to hear from us from Trevi!

We managed to take a quick bathroom break here and also get some gelato. Linda enjoyed her yummy hazelnut (better than she had in Palermo) and I loved my Menta (mint with chocolate chunks).

Then a 20 minute walk to the Pantheon, home of the tomb of the Renaissance painter Raphael, two kings of Italy and Queen Margherita. The Pantheon was very open. Many of the columns are still originals. The columns are so wide that it would take at least 3 adults to wrap their arms around it. There were many statues and frescos. The oculus is the only source of light, a huge round opening in the midst of the ceiling. The great bronze doors and the marble interior are the only other parts of the original building. The doors were massive.

Next we walked to the square of Piazza Navona. Unfortunately, the Fountain of the Four Rivers, an Egyptian obelisk, is under restoration. However there were some plexi-glass openings so we could enjoy some of the statues.

At this point we boarded our bus and went to lunch, Alfredo's at St. Peter's Square. What a great lunch. Bottled water on the table, followed by Asti Spumonte poured by the servers. Then white or red wine or beer or soda, even milk, was available. Hardy parmesan cheese and black olives were also on the table. Our first plate was four slices of meat that included incredible salami, a ham which tasted like there was cheese in it. Also proscuitto and another cured meat. A basket of hard rolls too!

This was followed by brushetta - Italian bread toasted with fresh basil and tomatoes. YUMMMM. Next course was lasagna with meat. Very good, tasty pasta! For dessert, a light but rich whipped cream delight! We all were feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the afternoon!!

A guided tour of the Vatican awaits us. First, you go thru metal detectors. Also, NOTE strollers had to be checked outside. No strollers inside the grounds! We also passed by the clothes police. When entering the churches of Europe you must have your knees covered and your shoulders covered. If not you will not get entrance.

We entered St. Peter's Square and saw where the Pope stands to greet the audiences in the courtyard. The top of the buildings were adorned with statues of the Saints. Once inside the basilica we were overwhelmed. There were many statues, burial areas and mosaics. Many of the mosaics actually looked like paintings but they were not. They were just magnificent. Of course, one of the most crowded areas was for Michelangelo's the Pieta. I had actually seen the Pieta at the 1964/5 Worlds Fair in New York City! But to see it in its "home" was quite moving. Memories of my mother and her Italian roots and seeing it at the Worlds Fair came flooding into my mind.

Ironically, we ran into Keith and Rob who were on the VIP tour. It seemed that many of the Disney excursions into Rome were ending at the Vatican because outside we also ran into our table mates, Mari, Raleigh, Allison and Lauren.

All too soon, it was time to walk to the bus and then off to the Roma Express. An amazing day with beautiful weather and incredible sights!

Overall Excursion Rating:
We rate the excursion very high, only problem was the head set ear pieces were horrible and kept falling out of our ears. There were several toddlers on the tour and the 10 hours made some of them very cranky on the bus and train!!! We definitely felt out guides were excellent and we really maximized our stops without feeling rushed.

There is a GREAT deal of walking and some of the steps, like at the Colosseum, are quite steep.

Deb Daily Recap:
Highs: Everything we did. Just amazing.
Lows: Crappy head sets

Linda Daily Recap:
Highs: Rome! Unbelievable! Calling my Sister from Trevi Fountain
Lows: Not enough time in Rome!

Follow the Disney Magic: Track Cruise Ships on their journey Scroll down the page and enter the Disney Magic under Ship's Name (Zoom in and out to get a better look.)

Deb and Linda - Life -- IT Too Short!

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May 30, 2007

Cruising the Med - Olbia, Photos

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Cruising the Med - Olbia 5/30/07

Today we visit Olbia Sardinia
Arrive: 8:00am
Depart: 6:00pm

Here are a couple facts (from the DCL website):

Olbia is a relaxing seaside village with white sand beaches and blue water. " The territory of Olbia has been inhabited since the VIII Century B.C. although the city itself was founded by the Carthaginians no earlier than about VI Century B.C. Right from the beginning, the harbour was of significant importance to the city's economy, especially due to its corn export industry which has constituted its main source of revenue."

"The word "Olbia" means a "happy town" (città felice), even though the city's past has been rather difficult. Olbia was destroyed and reconstructed many times throughout its history. This may be the reason for the loss of its original name, during various dominations of the area, which was finally regained in 1939. In the 60's, Olbia underwent a real demographical boom and extensive tourism development of the area."
The above exerpts are from the Sardegna Website.

In the morning, Linda did laundry and I caught up on blogging. I'm sure you're tired of hearing this, but the connection just comes and goes frequently.

We felt this would make a perfect day to spend wandering around on our own. We were to join our friends Rob and Keith for a walking tour of the area and lunch. Unfortunately Keith hurt his knee badly when climbing Mt. Vesuvious the prior day. So instead of wandering around town, we dined at Lumieres and followed that with dessert and coffee at Cove Café. It was actually quite nice and low key as most folks were off the ship touring the island.

When we left Keith and Rob, Linda went to see the new Pirates movie and I took the opportunity to sleep for a couple hours. Linda said the movie was not at all was she was expecting, very hard to follow (in her opinion). As with previous movies, do stay thru the credits until the very end.

We saw the new show "The Art of Story". This is a VERY loud show. We will say again, a VERY loud show. I'm not sure why it needed to be, but it is. The first song will make Hunchback fans very happy - it reminded me of the MGM Studios show. From there we went to a song from Mulan, then Tarzan, Beauty and the Beast and the Lion King. Each song was to represent a different element in story telling. Unfortunately, I didn't quite get the connection. The show ended VERY strong with a song from the theatrical production of Lion King. The woman lead was awesome! Because it ended so wonderfully, I thought the show was great but my friends gave it a yawn. Ok, but nothing special. We all agreed, however, we want to see it again!!!

Drinks at Sessions.

Dinner with our friends at Lumiere's where everyone shared their wonderful day on the island. All too soon it was time to depart and get ready for ROME!


Deb Daily Recap:
Highs: Final song in Art of the Story, Lunch with Keith and Rob
Lows: not really any, but wish I had gotten off the ship for a bit.

Linda Daily Recap:
Highs: Lunch with Rob and Keith
Lows: Doing laundry (packed and hot in the laundry room)


Deb and Linda - Life -- IT Too Short!

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Cruising the Med - Naples Photos Part 2

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Cruising the Med - Naples Photos Part 1

Arriving in Naples

Arriving in Naples

Beci, Chris and our new friends Chuck and Tony waiting in the Walt Disney Theatre for our excursion to begin.

Waiting for the excursion


Mt. Vesuvius
Mt. Vesuvius


Driving to Amalfi
Driving to Amalfi


More to come

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Cruising the Med Naples Italy - 5/29/07 -

Today we visit Naples Italy
Arrive: 7:30 am
Depart: 7:30 pm

Here are a couple facts (from the DCL website):
Naples is considered the birthplace of Pizza. The city's other best known dishes include Sartu di riso (molded rice with savory garnishes) and Pasta e fagioli (pasta and beans.)

Our Excursion: The Amalfi Coast Drive and the Ruins of Pompeii, a 9 hour tour!

We begin with a 2 hour drive along the coast in our ai c onditioned motor coach. After approximately 1 hour, we stopped at a wood working store that specializes in wood inlays. We had a brief lesson in how that is done and got a chance to use the restrooms!

Back on the bus for another hour..... this time we saw more and more of the beautiful Amalfi coast line. Just Magnificant! No words to describe. The roads were thisnarrow and many hair pin turns. Some folks did experience motion sickness, so do be prepared!!! It does mention this is the excursion description.

We encountered tons of traffic delays that unfortunately shortened our time at the various stops. Our tour guide, Gino, was outstanding!!!! He is an archiologist by trade and was extremely knowledgeable and funny!

Upon reaching either the village of Amalfi we had about 45 one hour to explore on our own. We used the time to visit the Cathedral of Amalfi. Built in the middle ages 839-1135AD. The crypt of St. Andrew is located here. This church, unlike the ones we visited in Palermo, had candles that could be lit. It was here I was able to honor my mother's memory and light a candle for her - Linda joined me in a very special moment.

From here we went to a hotel for lunch. It was kinda strange at first, we weren't sure if the buffet offered was appetizers or the main lunch. Each table had a bottle of water and bottle of wine. Very nice. The buffet consisted of salad, escarole (like Swiss Chard/spinach), pizza (no cheese LOL), small fried dough balls, fresh mozzarella (awesome), tomato salad, rolls and proscuito. Like I said, no one seemed quite sure if that was the appetizer or main entrée. Why no one asked, I have no idea LOL. So, I made a sandwich from the mozzarella and proscuito. It was quite good. Also, I asked for a bottle of red wine that was also quite good!

Soon the servers were clearing our plates and then we realized more food was to come. Each person received a plate with small penne pasta with red sauce and a most delicious spinach cannelloni.. I don't think I have had one taste this good in many many years! For dessert - cake - hazelnuts or something..whatever it was tasty! Was also my splurge meal for the day!!!!

Back onboard the bus, we travel an hour to the ancient city of Pompeii which was buried by Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD. I was getting very concerned at this point because the rain, once again started this time it was very grey and starting to come down. Our guide told us that if the rain got much harder our trip to Pompei would be cancelled. I was heartbroken, as this was one of my "must sees" for the whole trip. Fortunately, when we arrived it was only drizzle and off we went. Again, because of traffic problems, our one hour became 45 minutes and then the rain really started to come down. So we had Pompeei in the rain for 40 minutes, which was much better than no Pompeii at all! I would like to revist Pompeii sometime. Spend a solid day or half day with the audio tour. Gino was awesome with his explanations... we also had small headsets so that he talked to us thru them, which helped a great deal too!


Pompeii was lost for 1,600 years until it was accidentally discovered in 1748. At the time of the eruption, the town could have had some 20,000 inhabitants, and was located in an area in which Romans had their holiday villas.

Our Pompeii Slide Show

Deb and Linda - Life -- IT Too Short!

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May 28, 2007

Cruising the Med - More Palermo Photos

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Cruising the Med - Live Show Schedule on the Cruise

Live Stage Shows - 11 night cruise

Saturday 5/26
Welcome Aboard - Let the Magic Begin

Sunday 5/27
Golden Mickeys

Monday 5/28/07
Michael Harrison

Tuesday 5/29
On the Nose - game show where only the nose knows for sure. Chance to win prizes

Wednesday 5/30
The Art of Story - new show - watch the stage come to life with singing, dancing and comedy in this spectacular salute to the wondrous voyage that's about to begin

Wed 5/30 and Thur 5/31
Movie Night - Pirates of the Caribbean III

Friday 6/1
Twice Charmed

Saturday 6/2
Disney Magic Crew Talent Show

Sunday 6/3
When Mickey Dreams - Mickey Mouse dreams come to life in this musical spectacle guided by a cast of Cirque-like dream seekers.

Monday 6/4
Disney Dreams

Tuesday 6/5
Remember the Magic - Final Farewell

Saturday 5/26
Adventures Away party

Sunday 6/3
Pirates in the Caribbean Party

Monday 6/4
Party Paradiso - new


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Cruising the Med - Palermo Part 3 - Photos

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Deb

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Cruising the Med - Palermo Part 2 --5/28/07

Today is our first port of call, Palermo Italy. I'm especially looking forward to this port as it is where my mother's family is from. My grandfather was born here.

Arrive: 7:00am
Depart: 5:30pm

Here are a couple facts (from the DCL website):
The regions best-known culinary dishes include bottarg (salted tuna roe), involtini di pesce (swordfish with raisin and pine nut stuffing), caponata (aubergine and eggplant) and pasta con le sarde (pasta with sardines, fennel and raisins.)

Palermo also specializes in the craft of creating wooden puppets.

Our Excursion:
The Sites of Palermo
We began with a motor coach ride to Old Palermo. Our guide is full of facts.

We visit the famous "Four Corners" intersection in Palermo. This is the home to four statues representing the four seasons. Four statues depicting Spanish Kings and four female statues for the four patron saints of the town. Architecturally, Four Corners is a melting pot of Arabo-Norman magnificence, Palermitan baroque, and the work of craftsmen of the Middle Ages. Each sculpted angle of the Four Corners celebrates seasons, a patron saint, or a Spanish viceroy.

At City Hall Square we visited the Martorana Church (a 12th century Norman-Arab structure) and then the 12th century Cathedral at Palermo. Built in 1184 by the Norman king William II in the place of a Muslim mosque, the cathedral has undergone several renovations over the centuries, which have resulted in its current Neo-Classical style. The fourteenth-century door and the Gothic-Catalan style portico are worthy of note. The treasures that are kept inside, including some precious objects and embroidery found in the tombs of the Kings and emperors must be seen.

We had a delicious gelato break and then onto the motor coach and then off to Gustavo Whitiker's villa and Palermo's equivalent of the US Botanical Gardens. This family imported trees and plants from around the world. It was quite nice to wander around the grounds.

All too soon, time to get back on the bus and head back to the Disney Magic.

Pictures to follow.

Deb - Life -- IT Too Short!

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Cruising the Med - Palermo!! 5/28/07

We are in the midst of docking right now in Palermo... WOW! Very exciting.

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May 27, 2007

Waving to folks back home

We wanted to say hello to some folks back home...

Sandy has a message for Molly - Mission Accomplished!

Deb says hello to the AllEars Team and the Babes. Also, Chet - thanks for the power adapter, it works great. Hello to Tim and Dan - thanks for watching the house. All her friends and family!.

Linda says hello to her wonderful Sister-in-law, Debbie!!!! Her sister Wanda

Linda and Deb - Thanks to Fred and Renee for the wine!!

Internet service is till spotty.. so will post more later.

Deb

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Montserrrat Photos Part 2

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No idea who these men were, but they were cute and got a kick out of my taking pictures, so they posed for me. They spoke no English.

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Cruising the Med - May 26, 2007

(It's Sunday morning, our sea day. I'm trying to catch up on the narrative and hope to finish that today. I am have big troubles getting photos online so they may come in spurts..... Also, the internet connection is iffy... comes in and out, altho MUCH better this morning than last night.

Sat May 26 was the day we'd been waiting for - embarkation day! We set the alarm for 6am so that we could get packed and have a semi leisurely morning, before meeting in the lobby at noon. We had to have our bags ready inside the room by 8am. However, the folks at the Grand Marina had to leave their bags OUTside of their room. They were most unhappy about it!!!

Off to breakfast with Sandy and Sharon - they would only let me have one cup of coffee (on Montserrrat day I had 4 not realizing Spanish coffee had a zillion times more caffeine than American coffee-LOL.

Sharon, Sandy and I then walked to the beach. We found a few small pieces of sea glass so we were al happy. Oh and we could actually see one of the stacks of the Disney Magic.

Back to the room we hit the ATM machine for additional Euros and made a final blog entry.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Come to Europe with a Debit Card (your best option), ATM card or Credit Card with PIN number. I must be the only American that has none of the above. Fortunately, American Express is open 24/7 and within 20 minutes I was able to obtain a temporary pin for my card and get some cash.

The lobby of the Hilton Diagonal Mar was palpable. Everyone was excited about the adventure that was about to begin. NOTE: If staying at a Disney booked hotel, there will be staff in the lobby a couple days prior to your cruise. They can check you in so that you bypass one line at the Port. You will get your key to the world card just prior to boarding the bus to the Port.

To be continued......


Deb - Life -- IT Too Short!

Complete 2007 Mediterranean Cruise Information -
Navigators, Blogs, Photos, Excursion Reviews, Podcasts and more!

Other Mediterranean Blogs from AllEars®
Glo from Miami
Guest Blogs - including Chris and Beci Mahnken

May 26, 2007

Montserrrat Photos

Friday - May25th

Here we are at the train station...waiting to board:
Left to right: Linda Chris, Guide Gary, Karen and Sandy

Barcelona Train Station

Here is the monastary on the mountain -- you can take a cable car on land or the sky car; we opted for the aerial transport.

Montserrat

Montserrat

Gotta go catch the shuttle bus from the hotel to the port. More photos later ;)


Deb - Life -- IT Too Short!

Complete 2007 Mediterranean Cruise Information -
Navigators, Blogs, Photos, Excursion Reviews, Podcasts and more!

Other Mediterranean Blogs from AllEars®
Glo from Miami
Guest Blogs - including Chris and Beci Mahnken

May 25, 2007

Cruising the Med - 5/25/07

Got to back up to Wednesday so we can catch up.

The plane left Washington Dulles airport on Wednesday at 7pm. We arrived at the airport in plenty of time. Boy is Dulles VERY different than BWI (Baltimore) where we normally fly out of. The security lines were HUGE and our boarding passes and passports must have been checked at least 5 different times. There was even at least one station where our boarding pass was stamped and then the stamp was looked for later on.

As I previously mentioned we flew World Traveler Plus, a step up from "coach" and down from business. Am I ever glad we did - we had a tad more leg room and different seat amenities than the coach folks. Honestly, I'm not sure how I would have made it in coach. Between my diabetes and knee problems.. I'm just not sure I would have gotten ANY sleep at all. Linda's knees even hurt and she doesn't have knee problems! We were very restless but got some rest at least.

We found the food on British airways to be very good. If you are diabetic and considering a diabetic meal, think again. If you eat 30-45 carbs per meal, then you'll be fine. But I do low carb and couldn't eat much of the food. For instance, breakfast today was a banana, yogurt and orange juice. Linda had a sweet muffin in place of the banana.

For dinner, Linda had a choice of beef tips or chicken, she enjoyed the beef. It was like a beef stew - beef, peas, potatoes, carrots and gravy. A pleasant surprise as airplane food goes. My diabetic selection was a chicken (including dark meat), spinach and a large white bean on white rice. It was tasty, but too much carb for me.

Once we got on the plane from London to Barcelona, we each received a ham and cheese sandwich for breakfast as well as mango/orange juice and coffee/tea.

So, as I alluded to previously, Heathrow was an adventure. We had been forewarned by folks that it was a VERY busy airport and it would take us a LOT of time to get from one terminal to the other. So, in some respects we were prepared. Our schedule arrival time would give us 2.5 hour layover. Since the website says allow for 65 minutes, we felt we were in good shape.

However, upon arriving in London, we sat on the tarmac for almost 45 minutes waiting for a "pocket" (aka gate) to become available. We finally pulled into the "pocket", the doors opened and we had to walk down a flight of stairs onto the tarmac. We were directed to a door that appeared to be an emergency ext. However we had to walk up and then down and then up a flight of stairs to join the main terminal. Once we finally got into Terminal 4, we then had to make our way to Terminal 1. This is where the fun really began.

I'll spare you all the boring details.. but we waited in no less than 4 areas, 4 different times for at least 20-30 minutes to get to the next location. We ended up sprinting thru the final terminal to get to our plane 5 minutes prior to official take off time. This is just another reason why it's important to arrive at your destination at least one day prior to sailing or tour commencing!

View from our room on the 16th floor


Once we arrived in Barcelona and got our bags (as reported earlier) we got to the hotel. It was time for a shower and had a glass of wine and some light tapas in the hotel bar. I had zucchini pesto; Linda mushroom cannelloni and we split a manchango cheese tapas. Not cheap, but quite good. We then walked across the street to Diagonal Mar. Found what we called a "Super Walmart" - 3 floors and whatever shopping you need to do. We purchased some wine and bottles of water.

Our room at the Hilton: medcruise4.jpg


TIP: If you want to charge your purchase on Visa or Master Card, you will need to show your original passport, at least in the Diagonl Mar stores we visited.

Back to the room for a siesta 2 hour!!!! We didn't want to sleep too much, but definitely needed to get some rest. Just after waking up, Beci and Chris called and said they arrived at the hotel. We decided to meet back in the bar, have some drinks and some munchies. We weren't seated 10 minutes and Sandy and Sharon walked up. I'm not sure the hotel was fond of me screaming across the lobby- but as excited cruisers to be - there you go.

Today we met up with fellow cruisers, Gary and Karen, along with Chris, Sandy and Sharon and toured Montserrat!

From: http://www.barcelona-tourist-guide.com/montserrat-spain.html

"The history of Montserrat is fascinating and started in 880 when a small group of shepherd children saw a bright light descending from the sky in the Montserrat mountains. In the same moment the children heard angels singing and the music filled their hearts with a radiant joy.

Overwhelmed by the experience the children ran home to frantically recall the experience to their parents. The parents were sceptical but knew their children were trustworthy and honest and so they went to where the children had experienced the visions to see if they could see what all the fuss was about.

For the whole month following the first visitation the parents were also witness to the same heavenly experiences and were left with only one conclusion. The visions were a sign from God.

A local vicar was brought to the scene and witnessed the same experiences as the children and parents. The visions occurred in the same location in a cave on Montserrat mountain. When this cave was explored by the religious elders of the community they found an image of the Virgin Mary. And from that moment on the cave became a holy sanctuary for religious pilgrims.

Today the site of the visions has been marked by a Holy Grotto on the mountain. You can walk to the Holy Grotto and see first hand where these events took place. The Holy Grotto has now be ordained a holy place and is visited by pilgrims and curious onlookers from all over the world."


It was an amazing day; I'll post pics soon. We got back to the hotel about 7pm. Fortunately, the DIsney Crusie Line desk was still open so we could check into for tomorrow's departure for the ship.

Tonight there is a huge meet of DIS Board folks at the Fountains. We REALLY wanted to go but were so tired from Montserrat...we decided not to.

Tomorrow we board the ship!

Deb Daily Recap:
Highs: Montserrat Basilica
Lows: Getting back to to the room too tired to go to the DIS Fountain Meet

Linda Daily Recap:
Highs Monk's private dwelling we hiked near.
Lows: Going to the mega department store to buy a camera battery recharger that was left at home.

Follow the Disney Magic:
Track Cruise Ships on their journey Scroll down the page and enter the Disney Magic under Ship's Name (Zoom in and out to get a better look.)

Deb - Life -- IT Too Short!

Complete 2007 Mediterranean Cruise Information -
Navigators, Blogs, Photos, Excursion Reviews, Podcasts and more!

Other Mediterranean Blogs from AllEars®
Glo from Miami
Guest Blogs - including Chris and Beci Mahnken

Cruising the Med - May 25, 2007

I just finished a very lengthly blog and forgot to hit save before ending.. lost it all.

I"ll recap later.

Sandy and Sharon and Beci and Chris all arrived last night.

Today we are off to Monserrat.

More later.... out of time now

May 24, 2007

Hola from Barcelona!

DCL Cast Members at Barcelona AirportWe arrived safe and sound, despite quite the adventure in London's Heathrow airport.

These 2 lovely ladies greeted us at the Barcelona airport and were a welcome treat!

Our Hotel - the Hilton Diagonal Mar. A great location - close to the water, near the Metro and Bus Turisto and a "mall".


Gotta shower and get some food and will write more later.

Hilton Diagonal Mar


It's been a long night/day LOL

Deb
Life - IT too short

Complete 2007 Mediterranean Cruise Information -
Navigators, Blogs, Photos, Excursion Reviews, Podcasts and more!

Other Mediterranean Blogs from AllEars®
Glo from Miami
Guest Blogs - including Chris and Beci Mahnken

May 23, 2007

Cruising the Med - 5/23/07 - On Our Way!

May 23rd is here!!!! It's been well over a year since we booked the Disney Cruise in the Mediterranean. I'm very excited. Never been outside North America before. It also feels surreal... will we REALLY be in London and then Barcelona tomorrow?

As you read this I will be either totally calm or frantic with last minute things to do. Hopefully it will be calm Debbie and not frantic Debbie, LOL

We have a 7:00pm flight on British Airways. We are flying World Traveler Plus, which is a step above "economy" and a step below "business". What we didn't realize when we made the flight arrangements is that we could not reserve our seats until 24 hours prior. So, last night was a bit crazy as we logged onto for our check-in and seat assignments. We didn't get the "worse" seats possible, but probably next to worse. Oh well, it's just temporary, right?!

Since this is an international flight, our goal is to get to the airport EARLY. I'd much rather cool my heels in the airport instead of getting all hyper sitting in traffic. Living in the Washington DC Metro area - we have our shares of road issues. We will leave home about 2:30 to avoid afternoon rush hour traffic... grab some dinner, get online and wait for our trip to begin.

Approx 7:00am we will land in London's Heathrow airport, change planes and head to Barcelona! Our layover is 2.5 hours which should give us enough time to grab our luggage, change terminals, go thru customs and any other adventure that awaits us in Heathrow. We should arrive in Barcelona noon-ish on Thursday.

We had Disney Cruise Line arrange our transfers from the airport to the hotel, Hilton Diagonal Mar Barcelona, so hopefully other than clearing customs and getting our bags, we'll be at the hotel before we know it. We are supposed to look for the smiling Disney Rep in the airport.

Depending how we feel, we may decide to sight see on thursday afternoon. We really want to see buildings by architect Antonio Gaudi...this is a must. Either La Sagrada Familia and/or Park Guell. Whatever we don't see on Thursday, we'll hopefully get to the day we disembark the ship.

On Friday, we plan to tour Montserrat with several folks from our "group". GaryF has been the incredible researcher and has everything all mapped out for us!

My next check in will probably be from Barcelona!

Deb - Life -- IT Too Short!

Complete 2007 Mediterranean Cruise Information -
Navigators, Blogs, Photos, Excursion Reviews, Podcasts and more!

May 21, 2007

Disney Magic Update

Yesterday, the Magic enjoyed it's first port of call since leaving Castaway Cay in the Bahamas a week ago. Tenerife, the Canary Islands off the coast of north Africa (under Spanish rule)!

Here's a video put together by Verandah Man of the Magic coming into port Santa Cruz, Tererife. The video is from the cameras at the port! Thank you Verandah Man!!!


The Davidson girls are continuing to blog their way to Barcelona!

Here's the upclose of the Magic's location....
Magic's current location


Here's the journey of the Magic across the "pond".
Magic Journey Across the Atlantic

Today, Monday, May 21st, the Magic has a Sea Day!!!

Deb
Life - IT too short!

Cruising the Mediterranean Part 6 - The Itinerary

We've got a packed schedule for the 11 night cruise.

In addition to all the ports of call, Disney Cruise Line has stated there will be new shows, new deck parties, the premiere of Pirates of the Caribbean 3, special guests, Pirate Night, Princess and Prince night and much more. I think I'm going to need a vacation once I get home!

Captain Deb

Wednesday - May 23 - Leave the US for Barcelona

Thursday - May 24 - Arrive Barcelona

Friday - May 25 - Tour - Montserrat
Fountains Meet with DIS folks

Saturday May 26 Set sail from Barcelona 9:00pm

Sunday May 27 - at Sea

Monday May 28 - Palermo, Sicily. Ashore 7:00am, Onboard 5:30pm

Tuesday May 29 - Naples, Italy. Ashore 7:30am, Onboard 7:30pm

Wednesday, May 30 - Olbia, Sardinia. Ashore 8:00am, onboard 6:00pm

Thursday, May 31 - Civtavecchia (Rome) Italy. Ashore 7:30m, Onboard 9:30pm

Friday, June 1 - at Sea

Saturday, June 2 - La Spezia (Florence, Pisa) Italy. Ashore 7:30am, Onboard 7:30pm

Sunday, June 3 - Marseille, France. Ashore 8:00am, Onboard 9:00pm

Monday, June 4 - Villefranche (Monte Carlo, Cannes, Nice, Eze) France. Ashore 8:00am, Onboard 11:30pm

Tuesday, June 5 - at Sea

Wednesday, June 6 - Barcelona - Gaudi

Thursday, June 7 - Fly Home

An earlier blog had our excursions listed.

Deb
Life - IT too short!

May 17, 2007

Cruising the Mediterranean Part 5 - Reader Tips and the Magic's Sailing On!

Greetings.

Well the countdown is less than a week away! I can't believe the trip is almost here. This evening I spent some time making some cabin door magnets for decoration.

Important Note: Disney Cruise Line recently began a new policy on Cabin door decorations. They may ONLY be magnetic! No Tape and no glue! Apparently some folks used materials they shouldn't have and the paint on the doors is getting ruined.

Cabin Door Tip: Bring some blank 8x10 magnetic sheets with you and some tape. That way if you have any photos printed that you want to display, just tape them onto the magnet!

Here's a tip from Rose who will be sailing on the July 18th Med Cruise: One tip about currency exchanges that perhaps you can share with readers. I've always found better exchange rates withdrawing money from an ATM machine than if I had used travelers checks or a currency exchange office either here or overseas. Also, every ATM machine I've ever encountered was equipped to display in multiple languages, even in some of the smaller and obscure towns I've visited. That should alleviate the concerns of anxious travelers who are unfamiliar with the language. Also remind people that Visa & M/C are more widely accepted over Amex. For people who rely solely on Amex, this may pose a problem.

And Rose adds: If feasible, make sure you or members in your party get gelato while in Palermo - It is truly the best that Italy has to offer!

The Magic is way out in the Atlantic now... the furthest it has been from land.

Disney Magic's Position May 17, 2007.jpg

I started the packing game tonight....we'll see how it goes. The goal is to be 95% done by Sunday evening!

Deb
Life - IT too short!

May 14, 2007

Cruising the Mediterranean Part 4 - British Airlines and The Magic's Journey Is Underway!

Thanks to everyone who has been sending information to me about my upcoming trip to Europe and the Mediterranean Cruise.

Here are two helpful emails I received about Luggage in London's airports!

LisaC writes: Just came back from Gatwick. The luggage limit for checked bags is 50 lbs but they will honor up to 70 pounds until September as they have many overseas travelers who find this restriction difficult. All US based airlines are now on the 50 pound standard and enforcing it I hear. Second, BA and specifically the British Air Authority (like our TSA) hold EVERYONE to ONE carry on bag, period. So if you are transiting thru Heathrow or Gatwick be prepared to get all your stuff into one bag. You can immediately take out bits once you are thru the security checkpoint but going thru it's ONE bag. We used standard rollaboard bags and they fit the limit just fine.

From Jeanine: Just got back from Greece where we flew part of the way on British Air. I was a little nervous also about not getting seat assignments until 24 hours before, but I was able to check online the day before and they had assigned us a window/aisle on the side so it was fine.

What I wasn't prepared for, is that if you transfer in Heathrow, they limit your carry-on to 1 item--including purses! Even if your airline allows 2, they wouldn't let people in the terminal unless you could stuff everything into 1 bag. Once inside the terminal, there were absolutely no luggage carts whatsoever so after carting around a heavy backpack for the duration of my 5-hour layover, I would never go through there without wheeled luggage.

Thank you Ladies!!!!!

The Disney Magic left Florida Saturday and is on it's way to Barcelona! The Itinerary is as follows:
5/12/07 - Port Canaveral Sail Away
5/13/07 - Castaway Cay
5/14/07 - Sea Day (no port of call)
5/15/07 - Sea Day (no port of call)
5/16/07 - Sea Day (no port of call)
5/17/07 - Sea Day (no port of call)
5/18/07 - Sea Day (no port of call)
5/19/07 - Sea Day (no port of call)
5/20/07 - Tenerife, Canary Islands
5/21/07 - Sea Day (no port of call)
5/22/07 - Cadiz, Spain
5/23/07 - Gibraltar
5/24/07 - Sea Day (no port of call)
5/25/07 - Barcelona
5/26/07 - Debarkation

Here are a couple links of interest:

1) The Davidson Family are blogging their way across the Atlantic on the Disney Magic.

2) Track Cruise Ships on their journey Scroll down the page and enter the Disney Magic under Ship's Name

Here's the photo from 11am today:
magic1.jpg

May 12, 2007

Cruising the Mediterranean Part 3 - PreTrip ToDos

I'm now less than 2weeks away from my first trip to Europe and the Disney 11 night Mediterranean Cruise. I've had such a busy spring - what with the Special Needs Book 2nd edition, the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer - well; I'm just now really able to focus on the trip.

LUGGAGE -- First things first, I went to the British Airways website to check out their luggage restrictions. Got to spend time this weekend making sure my carryon and checked luggage will comply with their regulations. I have heard they are MUCH stricter in Europe than the airlines are in the US.

WHAT TO PACK - This is another one of those really hard things. We have a limit of 2 checked suitcases (with weight restrictions). We are going to be gone from May 23rd until June 6th - 15 days! Plus we'll be on a cruise ship so we also need to pack at least a couple dressy outfits as well as dinner attire. I must remember to pack touring clothes that will cover my shoulders and knees for visits to cathedrals! Oh my!!!! I can tell already those Disney Magic laundry rooms are going to be BUSY!

JET LAG - Another item to focus on is ways to reduce Jet Lag! I have a double whammy of not just the jet lag issue, but the insulin shot issue. As a Type I diabetic (insulin dependent) I take 3-4 insulin shots per day, with meals and then a 24 hour insulin shot at bedtime. Well, bedtime for my body doesn't change just because I flew to another time zone. Luckily my travel alarm clock allows for 2 time zones to be active so that will help quite a bit.

Jet lag - The most I've ever experienced in changing time zones is going from the East Coast US to the West Coast US. A little bothersome, but really, not a big deal. However this time we will be crossing multiple time zones.

I found this great article on the Mayo Clinic website simply called "Jet Lag"! Here are a couple of the tips the article suggests:

1) If you're traveling east, try going to bed one hour earlier each night for a few days before your departure. If possible, start eating meals closer to the time you'll eat at your destination.

2) Drink plenty of water before, during and after the flight to counteract the dry cabin air. Avoid alcohol and caffeine.

3) Once you board the plane, set your watch to the destination time zone.

AIRLINE SEAT ASSIGNMENTS - One thing I did not realize until it was too late, is that British Airways only allows seat assignments 24 hours in advance. Their frequent flyers and first class passengers can do their seat assignments earlier, but the rest of us have 24 hours. I'm a little nervous about this, I have to admit. The last thing I want to do is end up between strangers. I don't do well in middle seats. Plus, I'll have to give myself some insulin shots during the trip and I really don't want to do that next to strangers. Hopefully it will all workout ok!

DISNEY CRUISE LINE ONLINE CHECK-IN - To simplify the boarding process, Disney has online check in. There are several forms to fill out and print - Guest Information, Payment Authorization, the Disney Cruise Line Contract, and then Flight and Medical information. This is usually a breeze to do for Disney's regular cruises -- not so for the Med Cruises. For some reason the European airports and other pertinent fields in the database have not been modified for the Mediterranean cruises. We are using Disney Transfers from the airport to our hotel, but our airline information does not show up correctly on the website. ??? So then we tried to bypass that and print out the forms that need to be signed - they also included all the names of most of those tied to our reservations! It has their cabin numbers and lines for us to sign that we allow them to charge back to our stateroom!!!??? Our Travel Agent didn't understand it but said just to bypass that portion and print out the items we needed to sign.

Let's see, I have a whole list of other things to do before we leave home. Fortunately we have a master list of all these... well; I think we have a master list LOL.

Here are just a few things you need to make sure are on your list!
1) Stop mail and paper delivery
2) Have a neighbor keep an eye on your home (some jurisdictions suggest letting your local police department know).
3) Call your credit card companies to alert them you are going to be traveling overseas.
4) Change any work/personal voice mail recordings.
5) Make sure you have plenty of your prescription medication. Most mail-order/local pharmacies will allow you to request most refills early for vacations!

Whew - I'm tired just thinking about it.

Deb
Life - IT too short!

April 28, 2007

Cruising the Mediterranean Part 2 - Excursions

After deciding to book Disney's 11 night Med cruise, the next big decision, for me at least, was deciding on excursions. There are so many to choose from and of course, none offer everything you want to do... so you have some serious choices to make.

The other complicating factor is that Disney Cruise Line opened excursion reservations on line at 3 AM! Yes, you read that right... So I had to set the alarm and get up in the middle of the night to try and book the excursions I wanted. I also hoped for Palo dining reservations, but that became secondary. I wasn't a happy camper..but what can you do?

In deciding on our excursions, we laid out the itinerary so we could see where we'd be the day before and the day after each port. Didn't want to book back to back 8-9 hour excursions.. whew....

The very first excursion I attempted to book was for Villefranche -- Convertible Car Tour of the Cote d'Azur. Yes you and your companion get to drive around the French Riveria in your own convertible! It was VERY disappointing to see this was completely booked when I got online. I guess all the concierge guests (who get to reserve prior to the Castaway Club members) gobbled them all up. Since that time, I have heard from some on later cruises that this excursion seems to be unavailable even when things "open up". Hmm..

From there I just went to the first port and booked from there.

Palermo: Sights of Palermo

La Specia: Florence and Michelangelo

Civitavecchia - Jumping Back into Eternal Rome

Marseille - Castellet and Wine Tasting

Naples - Amalfi Coast Drive and the Ruins of Pompeii

Olbia - we decided to sleep in and enjoy a late morning stroll and lunch with friends.

Villefrance -- well, we haven't decided what to do there yet. I keep checking the DCL website in hopes someone would have cancelled and the Convertible would become available.

All that coupled with 2 sea days in 11 nights, I'd say we are going to be busy busy busy.

Read Part I of my Mediterranean Cruise Articles
Deb
Life -- IT too short!

April 16, 2007

Cruising the Mediterranean Part 1 - It Begins

Wow! It was March 2006 when all the Disney sites seem to be a buzz speculating where the Cruise Line would spend the summer of 2007. Alaska? Hawaii? Europe? When it was announced that the ship would sail to Barcelona and offer 11 and 10 night cruises of Italy and France.... I had to take a serious look.

Palermo! Oh my gosh...the first stop on the cruise is where my mother's family is from. Quickly, I decided this would be my one chance to visit my "homeland" and I had to go.

Then I stopped and said -- Ok, let's think about this rationally (hmm.. does one ever plan a Disney trip rationally?). This cruise could be quite an expensive venture. Not only would we be paying Disney Cruise Line prices, but we would also need airfare to and from the US, pre-stay hotel accommodations, excursion costs and who knows what else.

I started emailing my cruise buddies. (Yes, there is a group of us that seem to cruise together annually. I'm sure it will come as no surprise to you that we all met on a Disney ship! LOL.) Well, several folks were very excited... so we talked and thought and decided to go for it!!!

I'm not real crazy about traveling overseas these days but since I never have, I figured why not do it with Disney.

We have a Category 7 Navigator's verandah booked and plan to fly in a few days early to tour Barcelona.

My next post on the Med Cruise will talk about our excursions!

Deb
Life - IT too short!

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This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Deb's Digest in the Disney Cruise Line category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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