Wednesday - Castaway Cay
We got up early enough so that we could have breakfast before meeting in Evolution at 8:15 for the 5K. The 5K process is much easier than the last time we did it. It's still free, but instead of signing up the morning of, you sign up in advance at Guest Services or the Port Adventures desk. They give you a ticket that you turn in at the meeting place in exchange for your bib and safety pins. The made the process a LOT faster - the 5K group was ready to leave the ship as soon as the cruise director announced that passengers could disembark.
As soon as we walked off the ship it started to rain! We just grabbed some towels and kept walking, and it stopped after less than 10 minutes. It was nice to have it overcast and a bit cooler - this is definitely the best weather I've had when I've done this race.
Stan, Pam, and Tom were again doing the 5K. Lee and Stan ran it, and Pam and I walked it together and had a good time, and Tom finished a few minutes after we did. We all got our "Winner" ribbons with the plastic Mickey head. Starting next year runDisney is doing a new "Castaway Cay Challenge" which will have a REAL medal. Runners who participate in one of the races during either Marathon weekend in January or Princess weekend in February and then take the four-night Disney cruise that starts the Monday after the race have the opportunity to sign up for the Castaway Cay Challenge where they will get that medal when they complete the Castaway Cay 5K. I hope that they will offer this after the Wine and Dine Half Marathon also, since we already plan to run that and then do the cruise next year. There were a lot of people on our cruise that had run the Wine and Dine Half, so I think there would be quite a bit of interest!
After the race we walked out to Serenity Bay.
Molly had gone ahead while we were doing the race and saved us some primo spots - including two hammocks! I enjoyed one of those for a while.
They had to leave early since they were having brunch at Palo. Brunch is so popular and hard to reserve that they have started to offer it on Castaway Cay day also.
Lee and I had lunch on the island, and enjoyed a nap in the sun. It was a little breezy and the sun felt good.
We walked back to the ship around 2:00 and stopped for some photos with the holiday decorations on the dock.
After we boarded we ran into the others who were returning from brunch. They enjoyed it.
Lee and I had another Champagne seminar in the Pink that afternoon. This one was put on by the wine team, and led by the Head Sommelier from Remy. We had four champagnes, including two rose champagnes.
There was also a bonus champagne - our favorite Moet Ice Imperial. I think the sommelier was a bit taken aback that Lee and I were already quite familiar with it. :-)
We were again leaving port after we finished, so we went up on deck to watch the sailaway. Not quite as pretty a sunset as the previous evening.
In the lobby they were still working on the gingerbread house!
That night was Pirate Night and we dressed up a little bit. Arrr...
In Pink I had one of the Tuxedo strawberries with a glass of Ice Imperial. Yum.
We returned to our stateroom in time for the fireworks - we were on the starboard side, so we could see them from our verandah.
That day's towel animal was a sea turtle.
Thursday - Day at Sea
I don't think I've mentioned the sea conditions for this cruise at all. It was very smooth sailing - I think the least motion that I've ever experienced. I felt it a little bit the evening we left Port Canaveral, but after that, I could hardly even tell we were moving.
The weather was good, too, at least after we got away from Port Canaveral. We had a fair amount of sun and it wasn't too warm.
Thursday was our day for Palo brunch, though it wasn't until 12:30. We still had breakfast in the morning. We started in Cove Cafe so Lee could get some "real" coffee, rather than the stuff they serve at the beverage stations and in the dining rooms. Cove Cafe had some holiday decorations, too.
I didn't realize that there was a piece of Enchanted Art in Cove Cafe.
After breakfast at Cabanas Lee went to a presentation on the Dream and I did another "Midship Detective Agency" case. If you keep the same card you'll get different villains, though the cases themselves done change at all - just a couple of the clues are different. While doing that I checked on the gingerbread house again. You can see the figures of Mickey and Minnie inside.
There were some holiday decorations in Palo, also. Our brunch was good, though it didn't take as long as it often does - we felt a little rushed. We've always had the first seating before, though. By the time we left very few of the tables were still occupied.
After brunch we went shopping. They had some nice "Merrytime Cruises" merchandise.
Lee found a Baymax shirt that he bought.
That night we were in Animator's Palate - there was a pretty Christmas tree outside.
We saw the Turtle Talk with Crush show. Crush got to our area of the restaurant very late, and most of the kids had already left by then, so he didn't really spend any time interacting with anyone in particular. And truth be told, we weren't paying much attention to him because we were too busy chatting with our tablemates.
We got a nice photo of everyone, plus our server, Graziela.
After dinner we went back to our stateroom to pack. We had to clear "Davy Jones" off our bed so that we could do that, though. We were planning to carry our bags off ourselves, but still wanted to get most of the packing done before we went to Pink to finish our evening.
There were a few more people who wandered in and out of Pink that night, but no one stayed long, though we heard several lament that they wish they'd found it sooner. We had a nice final evening with Don and Cinthya. We hope to see them next year when we do this same cruise again!
I wanted to check out the progress on the gingerbread house so we went to the lobby.
It was about 10:20 and the "Character Farewell" was going on. We watched that for a while, and also saw the "Dickens Carolers" group. They only performed two songs, though - we were hoping for more.
The characters came out onto the balcony for one final farewell.
Then it was back to our room for one final night in that oh-so-comfy Disney Cruise Line bed!
Friday - Disembarkation
We were early dining, so our breakfast started at 6:45 - we set an alarm. We'd had good weather for the cruise, but it was another foggy, grey day in Port Canaveral.
Breakfast on the final day is always a a very quick process - they want us OUT of there. I think we walked off the ship about 7:45, after taking one final photo of the gingerbread house. Walking off the ship is always a letdown after everything else. But all good things must come to an end, right?
The line for Customs was longer than I've ever seen it but it moved steadily and we were on a bus to the airport by 8:20, and checked in for our flight by 9:15 - plenty of time before our 11:45 flight.
So now Part 3 of our adventure was about to begin: fly to San Diego, make a quick stop at the house to repack our bags, and then drive to Disneyland so that we can run the Inaugural Avengers Half Marathon on Sunday. We were looking forward to that!
A few thoughts on the cruise...
We loved doing the cruise after our half marathon! It was a great way to relax and reward ourselves after that. We are definitely looking forward to doing it again next year! We were already planning to do it with a group of friends, and while on this cruise Stan and Pam and Tom and Molly also booked it for next year!
i was glad to get a chance to see the holiday decorations on board the ship - that wasn't something I expected when we booked this cruise. I wish they had done a tree lighting ceremony every night - the lobby just isn't big enough to hold everyone who is interested in that. And it was difficult for those with early dinner seating to make it in time.
I really loved this itinerary: two days at Castaway Cay and a day at sea. I know it's very popular with guests, so I wish Disney would do it more often. Lee reminded me that when all four ships are in the area and visiting Castaway Cay once or twice a week, that the schedule just doesn't work out. Sigh.
We didn't see any of the shows this time - but we've seen them all before. We were glad of the opportunity to see Big Hero 6, since it had just opened the previous Friday. We wanted to see Maleficent, but the timing just never worked out for that one. That's what happened on our cruise two months ago, also.
Next time I'm booking my own transfers or doing something else different so that we don't get to the ship so late on embarkation day. When we're late like that it's a rush to try and eat and get settled in our stateroom before the lifeboat drill. Besides, I want to be able to take advantage of our Platinum status!
The food blogs are still coming - I will include our experiences at Walt Disney World, including the Food and Wine Festival, in addition to our meals on the cruise ship.