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Castaway Cay Archives

April 25, 2017

Disney Pic of the Week: Trams

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Most Disney Trams get you from your car in a hot parking lot to one of Disney's great themeparks. Yet, my favorite Disney Tram is found on a remote private island owned by the Disney Cruise Line in the Caribbean called Castaway Cay. There, the trams take you from the ship to family beaches and, in the case below, the adult beach called Serenity Bay.

Castaway Cay Tram about to make a stop at Serenity Bay, Disney Cruise Line, Bahamas
Castaway Cay Tram about to make a stop at Serenity Bay.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/250, f/14, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 28mm Focal Length.

Deb will be here tomorrow to with her Disney Tram pic.

October 4, 2016

Disney Pic of the Week: Cocktails

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I am not a big drinker but, when I visit Castaway Cay during a Disney Cruise, I make a stop at Serenity Bay's Castaway Air bar for the island's signature cocktail, Konk Kooler. I have it on good authority, you get more to enjoy with the sipper cup, too.

Bartender fills up a Konk Kooler Sipper Cup at the Castaway Air Bar on Serenity Bay on Castaway Cay, Disney Cruise Line, Bahamas
Bartender fills up a Konk Kooler Sipper Cup at the Castaway Air Bar on Castaway Cay.
Nikon D750/Nikon 16-35VR, 1/125s, f/4, ISO 180, EV +0.3, 22mm Focal Length.

Deb will be here tomorrow to share one of her favorite Disney cocktails.

August 3, 2016

Disney Pic of the Week: Beach

Deb's Digest Blog

Since we have been highlighting the Disney Cruise line for the month of July, I had to return to DCL for my Photo of the Week.

Back in December 2003, I was walking around at Castaway Cay and behold, this beautiful sand castle was just sitting on the beach.

beach.jpg

August 2, 2016

Disney Pic of the Week: Beach

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

When it comes to a Disney beach, you would be hard pressed to find a better one than Serenity Bay's Adult Beach on Castaway Cay. It's one of the perks of any Caribbean cruise on the Disney Cruise Line.

A couple of chairs on the Serenity Bay Adult Beach on Castaway Cay, Disney Cruise Line, Bahamas
A pair of chairs on the Serenity Bay Adult Beach on Castaway Cay.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/200s, f/18, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 28mm Focal Length

Tomorrow, Deb will share a beach from a different Castaway Cay location.

July 26, 2016

Disney Pic of the Week: Summertime

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I think we can all agree that BF (Before Frozen), when someone asked for a photo about summertime, a snowman would be the last thing that would come to mind. After the Walt Disney Studios animated feature, Frozen, was released, it is hard not to think of the cute little snowmand Olaf made by Elsa. Heck, he even showed up on Castaway Cay. Can you hear him singing?

Olaf hanging out on Castaway Cay, Disney Cruise Line, Bahamas
Olaf hanging out on Castaway Cay where it is always Summertime.
Nikon D750/Nikon 16-35VR, 1/125s, f/8, ISO 180, EV +0.3, 18mm Focal Length.

Deb will be here tomorrow with her photo about summertime. I bet you can guess what it will be..wink, wink.

July 13, 2016

Disney Pic of the Week: Castaway Cay

Deb's Digest Blog

There is no doubt the Disney Cruise Line offers one of the very best private islands for their guests. From the first time I saw Castaway Cay, I fell in love.

One of my favorite memories is seeing the Flying Dutchman pirate ship which anchored off shore for a few years. Hence, my pic of the week!

castawaycay.JPG

July 12, 2016

Disney Pic of the Week: Castaway Cay

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Every Disney Cruise Line Caribbean itinerary has a stop at Castaway Cay. Some even have more than one day there. It is my personal favorite of all the Disney Cruise Line Ports of Call. You don't have to worry about anything. Just be happy!

Mickey Mouse making friends on Castaway Cay during a Disney Dream cruise, Disney Cruise Line, Bahamas
Mickey Mouse making friends on Castaway Cay.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/16, ISO 250, EV +0.6, 40mm Focal Length.

Deb will be here tomorrow with her photo from the Disney Cruise Line's private island.

April 26, 2016

Disney Pic of the Week: Trees

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

What is not to like about Castaway Cay? Disney Cruise Line's private island in the Bahamas is the prefect place to enjoy this week's theme: Trees.

Below is a simple click of palm trees with the tops of colorful umbrellas found near the beach on Castaway Cay. Enjoy!

Palm trees and beach umbrellas on Castaway Cay during a cruise on the Disney Magic ship, Disney Cruise Line, Bahamas
alm trees and beach umbrellas on Castaway Cay.
Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/320s, f/9, ISO 100, EV 0, 35mm Focal Length, Intensify CK.

Deb will show you a different kind of orange tree tomorrow.

March 11, 2016

Disney Magic Cruising

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Upon walking on to the Disney Magic, the first ship of the Disney Cruise Line, I immediately compared it to the Disney Dream which I had been on several times. That comparison makes the Disney Magic feel small and is not fair. I found the Disney Magic different and smaller but just as enjoyable to cruise on.

Lobby of the Disney Magic cruise ship, Port Canaveral, Florida
Lobby of the Disney Magic cruise ship.
Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/125s, f/4, ISO 2500, EV 0, 16mm Focal Length.

Each Disney Cruise Line ship has a character statue. For the Disney Magic, Helmsman Mickey Mouse is based on the eight foot tall Man at the Wheel statue at the Fisherman’s Memorial in Gloucester, Massachusetts

Helmsman Mickey statute in the lobby of the Disney Magic cruise ship, Port Canaveral, Florida
Helmsman Mickey statute in the lobby of the Disney Magic cruise ship.
Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/125s, f/4, ISO 4500, EV 0, 20mm Focal Length.

Earlier in the day of my cruise, the Disney Cruise Line announced two new ships coming to the fleet. During the Adventure Away party and show, they repeated the announcement with characters, streamers and graphics on the Funnelvision.

Adventure Away party and show on the Disney Magic cruise ship, Port Canaveral, Florida
Adventure Away party and show on the Disney Magic cruise ship.
Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/160s, f/8, ISO 100, EV 0, 35mm Focal Length.

Our three night cruise only had one Port of Call which was Disney Cruise Lines' private island of Castaway Cay. The weather for our stop was warm and partly sunny in the morning. Later more clouds rolled in with a cool breeze. The photo of the moored Disney Magic pretty much shows it. Did not stop me from enjoying doing the morning 5K, Serenity Bay adult beach and Cookies II BBQ.

Disney Magic cruise ship moored at Castaway Cay, Bahamas
Disney Magic cruise ship moored at Castaway Cay.
Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 500, EV 0, 35mm Focal Length.

Like the Disney themeparks, Cast Members are one of the big reasons why my family and others give high marks for entertainment and service on Disney cruise ships. Below are a few which made my cruise memorable.

Disney Magic Cast Members
Disney Magic Cast Members.

Going clockwise from top left: Bartenders work to fill guest drink orders behind the Singles bar, server puts on a napkin hat on a guest in Carioca's restaurant, cast member poses with a guest at Serenity Bay BBQ on Castaway Cay and Deputy Leader cast member for the emergency evacuation drill before leaving port.

Other notable activities I enjoyed was Tangled, the Musical stage show, nightly entertainment in Fathoms with host Matt from England, seeing the 3-D version of Zootopia in the Walt Disney Theatre and relaxing on deck with a book and a drink.

March 4, 2016

Port of Call: Castaway Cay

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Disney Dream cruise ship docked at Castaway Cay, Bahamas
Disney Dream cruise ship docked at Castaway Cay.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/29, ISO 720, EV -0.3, 45mm focal length.

Scott is on vacation this week cruising on the Disney Cruise Line with a stop at Castaway Cay. We are sure there will be many Konk Koolers consumed in his travels. Scott will be back next week and sharing his adventures from the Caribbean.

August 25, 2015

Disney Pic of the Week: Yellow

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Ah, Castaway Cay Port of Call on a Disney Cruise Line cruise in the Caribbean is about as perfect a place on Earth as one can find. What makes it so is the fun of having Disney characters sharing it with you. With this week's subject being Yellow, here is Pluto at Mount Rustmore.

Pluto at Mount Rustmore on Castaway Cay, Disney Cruise Line, Bahamas
Pluto at Mount Rustmore on Castaway Cay.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/200s, f/7.1, ISO 200, EV +0.7, 145mm Focal Length.

Deb will be here tomorrow with her Yellow photo.


March 6, 2015

Photographs from a Cruise on the Disney Dream

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I live in upstate New York near Lake Ontario and it has been a brutal past six weeks from late January to early March. In fact, not only was February of 2015 the coldest one ever, it was the coldest MONTH ever recorded for my area. So, I hope you will forgive me if I share with you a few photos from my last cruise on the Disney Dream to break up the season and remind me of better things to come as the calendar heads towards Spring.

Here we go, mateys. Our first Port of Call was Nassau where my wife and I choose to tour the Atlantis resort on nearby Paradise Island.

The Atlantis resort on Paradise Island, Nassau, Bahamas
The Atlantis resort on Paradise Island.
Nikon D700/24-120VR, f/16, ISO 200, EV 0, 24mm focal length, HDR image.

See the span between the two buildings? That is the Bridge Suite (aka the Michael Jackson Suite) which costs $25,000 (US) a night with a four night minimum. Anyone ever stay in the Bridge Suite?

I choose to use a High Dynamic Range (HDR) set of five photos which I merged together using Photomatix software. The reason was the sunlight was coming from behind the buildings which created a lot of dark shadows. Using HDR processing, I was able to pull out the details and colors in those shadows.

My next stop of the tour of Atlantis was the Aquarium which holds a large variety of sea creatures and treasures to see, photograph and learn about. The shark tunnel was fun to hang out in to see the reaction of fellow tourists as they watched sharks and rays swim over their heads.

A tourist photographs a shark swimming overhead at the Atlantis resort aquarium on Paradise Island, Nassau, Bahamas
A tourist photographs a shark swimming overhead at the Atlantis resort aquarium.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/125s, f/11, ISO 500, EV 0, 15mm focal length.

I wanted to do two things with this photo: A person doing something and enough depth of field to show the length of the tunnel. To do both, I put on the Tokina 11-16mm wide angle zoom lens (this lens is available for Canon, Nikon and Sony mounts) and set the aperture to f/11 using Aperture priority mode. My camera was set not to go below 1/125th of a second for its shutter speed. This produced an ISO of 500 which was pretty good for this location. All I had to do was wait for someone to come along. If you have family with you, they could be your models.

After having lunch at Atlantis, we went back to the ship to relax and enjoy the evening cruise to Castaway Cay, Disney Cruise Line's private island. We disembarked the next morning and were told Captain Jack Sparrow would soon be joining us. Always wanting to meet the scallywag, we waited.

Captain Jack Sparrow on Disney Cruise Line's Castaway Cay, Bahamas
Captain Jack Sparrow on Castaway Cay.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/320s, f/13, ISO 200, EV 0, 38mm focal length, fill flash.

Jack and I had a good conversation about where to find rum on the island and something about wenches...but back to the photo. Notice it was a bright sunny day on Castaway Cay and what do I like to use on such days? Anyone? That is correct! I used Fill Flash to open up the shadows on people's or, in this case, pirate's faces. Gave the Captain a nice sparkle in his mischievous eyes, aye?

Assured by the good Captain I would find rum and food at Serenity Bay, the adults only beach on Castaway Cay, my wife and I took the next tram out.

A couple enjoying Serenity Bay on Disney Cruise Line's Castaway Cay, Bahamas
A couple enjoying Serenity Bay on Castaway Cay.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/18, ISO 200, EV -0.3, 300mm focal length

Does this scene fit the name Serenity Bay or what? Notice I did not put the people in the center of the frame. I followed the Rule of Thirds to create a more natural and pleasing to the eyes scene.

Earlier that day, I had left my cabin before sunrise to photograph around the Disney Dream and watch as we docked at Castaway Cay. With today's camera and lens technology, I was able to photograph in the low light without a tripod.

The Disney Dream early in the morning sailing Caribbean waters near Castaway Cay, Bahamas
The Disney Dream early in the morning sailing Caribbean waters.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/80s, f/3.5, ISO 6400, EV 0, 28mm focal length.

This is when proper hand-holding of your camera comes into play to get sharp photos even in low light conditions.

The last night at sea, we enjoyed the talents of Greta Salóme, an Icelandic singer and violinist, performing in the Atrium of the Disney Dream. She played many Disney classics including a version of "Let It Go" from the animated movie, Frozen, which everyone loved.

Greta Salóme performing in the Atrium of the Disney Dream cruise ship
Greta Salóme performing in the Atrium of the Disney Dream.
Nikon D700/24-120VR, 1/200s, f/4, ISO 1600, EV 0, 24mm focal length.

I encourage you to look up Greta Salóme's music. As you can see, there is a lot one can do and expereience on a Disney Cruise.

I am warmed up now.

November 25, 2014

Disney Pic of the Week: Disney Dream

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I have sailed three times on Disney Cruise Line's Disney Dream cruise ship. Each time I have enjoyed myself more than the time before. There is always something new to try, do and explore. On this voyage, the stop at Castaway Cay, Disney's private island, was vacation photo perfect. Warm weather with a soft breeze giving the Caribbean water the beautiful greens and blues. I stopped at Pop's Props and Boat Repair on the way back to the ship for another Konk Kooler. I saw this young girl sitting and looking out at the docked Disney Dream. Maybe she was daydreaming. I thought, yes, the ship is like a dream.

Disney Dream cruise ship docked at Castaway Cay, Bahamas
Disney Dream cruise ship docked at Castaway Cay.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/13, ISO 200, EV -0.3, 85mm focal length.

I have written many articles about the Disney Dream which you can see here: Disney Dream Archives

Deb Wills will be here tomorrow to share her "Disney Dream".

October 17, 2014

Relaxing on Castaway Cay

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Mickey Mouse relaxing on Disney's Castaway Cay, Bahamas, Disney Dream, Disney Cruise Line

Mickey Mouse relaxing on Disney's Castaway Cay.

After last week's happy occasion, Scott decided for a little relaxation and even more relaxation aboard the Disney Dream with a stop at Disney's Castaway Cay Caribbean island paradise. You can follow him on his Twitter feed at Scottwdw where he will be posting photos and other information during his trip.

Remember, photos of t-shirts, signs, beach towels and other design items make excellent title images for vacation slide shows and scrap books. Oh, and for blogs, too!

August 22, 2014

Getting around Disney's Castaway Cay

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I will be taking a Disney Cruise in a couple of months and with the Pic of the Week being about Disney's Castaway Cay, I decided to continue with the theme and to further acquaint you with the Caribbean island.

The trams will take you from a stop near the dock to Palm Central Station with further service to Serenity Bay. The trams run about every six minutes with the caveat of them running on Bahamian time.

Welcome to Disney's Castaway Cay during a Disney Dream cruise.
Welcome to Disney's Castaway Cay.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/80s, f/14, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 28mm focal length.

As you walk around the island, you will notice several fun photo opportunities dreamed up by Disney Imagineers.

Photo op location on Castaway Cay during a Disney Dream cruise.
Photo op location on Castaway Cay.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/400s, f/10, ISO 400, EV +0.3, 28mm focal length.

The last blog showed Pluto at the Mount Rustmore location. Here is a photo of the nearby sign just in case you are lost.

Mount Rustmore on Castaway Cay on a Disney Dream cruise.
Mount Rustmore on Castaway Cay.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/250s, f/8, ISO 200, EV +0.7, 48mm focal length.

While visiting the Lookout Tower on the island, I spied this interesting structure.

This outhouse is for the birds on Castaway Cay during a Disney Dream cruise.
This outhouse is for the birds on Castaway Cay.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/16, ISO 450, EV +0.7, 300mm focal length.

Well, hate to end this with bathroom humor, but time to start planning an island excursion.

August 21, 2014

Pluto at Mount Rustmore

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Pluto with his Mount Rustmore likeness on Castaway Cay during a Disney Dream cruise.
Pluto with his Mount Rustmore likeness on Castaway Cay.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/200s, f/7.1, ISO 200, EV +0.7, 145mm focal length.

If you have ever been or will ever go on a Disney Caribbean cruise, a must photo op is at Mount Rustmore (that's rust, nor rush) where the clever Disney Imagineers re-purposed some all sea junk of the famous Disney characters. Above you see Pluto with his Mount Rustmore likeness in the background for a Disney Pic of the Week on Castaway Cay.

July 12, 2013

Live, Laugh and Relax with Mickey Mouse

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

T-Shirt design seen on Castaway Cay, Bahamas

While Scott is NOT in the Caribbean this week, he is Living, Laughing and Relaxing right along with Mickey Mouse and Goofy. Donald Duck, not so much. Scott will be back next week to share more Disney photographic fun and tips.

March 1, 2013

Dreaming of a Disney Cruise

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

With the release of the 2014 sailings by the Disney Cruise Line, I have been dreaming about my past cruises.

Last year, my wife and I enjoyed a 4-night cruise where we found Disney cruises can be romantic and fun. Remember, the golden hour (the hour before sunset) is a great time to photograph even on a cruise ship at sea.

Late afternoon sky over Deck 11 on the Disney Dream cruise ship.
Late afternoon sky over Deck 11 on the Disney Dream cruise ship.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, f/16, ISO 200, EV -0.3, 16mm focal length, HDR Image.
Dreams can make you hungry as I remember the dessert selection in Cabana's buffet restaurant on the Disney Dream. One of those wonderful details travel photographers like to capture.
Desserts lined up in Canbana's restaurant on the Disney Dream.
Desserts lined up in Canbana's restaurant on the Disney Dream.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/250s, f/8, ISO 3200, EV 0, 28mm focal length.

Any day at Castaway Cay is a great day even if it is a bit overcast. Remember, when in the Bahamas, Left is Right and Right is Wrong. When creating a good travel photograph, get a good foreground and background subject.

A sign on Castaway Cay with the Disney Dream cruise ship in the background.
A sign on Castaway Cay with the Disney Dream cruise ship in the background.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/80s, f/14, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 28mm focal length.

Hmmm...maybe I need to dream about an Alaskan cruise. I will need to rent a 600mm lens for that trip!

July 20, 2012

Disney Panoramic Views

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Back in October of 2009, I wrote a post called Pano-Magic about how to best take a set of photos to create a panoramic image. This post will show you some common mistakes made when taking photos for and creating the panoramics in post-processing. Due to the locations, all of the photos were taken hand-held.

If you recall when I reviewed the Nassau Forts and Junkanoo Discovery Tour, the one thing I wished I had was more time at Fort Fincastle. The panoramic you see below is the result of being rushed. I took these four photos quickly and, as I was reviewing them, was told we were moving on. I knew they would not create the panoramic image I had in mind. The wide angle shot in the review link is much better. Next time I did a panoramic set of photos, I made sure I had more time.

Panoramic view from the top of Fort Fincastle on Nassau in the Bahamas.
Panoramic view from the top of Fort Fincastle on Nassau in the Bahamas.
CLICK PHOTO TO SEE LARGER IMAGE.

This panoramic of Castaway Cay was planned. I knew about the Lookout Tower from my first visit to Castaway Cay. I had visions of a beautiful Caribbean blue sky with sunshine gleaming off the Disney Dream on the horizon. That vision was dashed with the weather but I still wanted the panoramic. I did a couple of things wrong here. First, I did not set my camera to full manual so that the exposure would be the same in each of the photos. As you can see, the photo used for the Disney Dream is a bit underexposed in comparison to the other four photos. Second, you can see a duplicate clearing on the left side. The panoramic stitching software I used did not properly line up the edges. I should have fixed that before saving the panoramic. Also, should have read my Pano-Magic post first, eh?

Panoramic view from the top of Lookout Tower on Castaway Cay in the Bahamas.
Panoramic view from the top of Lookout Tower on Castaway Cay in the Bahamas.
CLICK PHOTO TO SEE LARGER IMAGE.

The last one I want to show you I am very proud of. During the Streets of America photowalk, the group got a backstage tour of the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show. The panoramic image of the garage took four photos and I was so very careful to overlap them enough so the panoramic stitching software could do its magic. This time I made sure my camera was in manual mode to keep the exposure the same. I was told by the stunt drivers giving the tour, they can strip down and totally rebuild any of the vehicles used during the shows.

Panoramic view of the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show garage in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Panoramic view of the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show Garage.
CLICK PHOTO TO SEE LARGER IMAGE.

Many photo editing programs today can perform the stitching needed to create panoramic images. Check to see if yours does. If not, there are many quality stand alone programs suited to the task. Of course, the better you plan and produce the photos for the panoramic, the better your results will be. Right, Scott?

June 15, 2012

Disney Cruising for Couples

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Last time I sailed on the Disney Dream was for her Christening Cruise back in January of 2011. On that cruise there were fewer than 1,000 passengers and most of them were media and travel professionals without their families. As you can imagine, I wondered how a 4-Night Caribbean cruise would be with almost a full complement of passengers, nearly 4,000, and most of them being families would be like traveling as an adult couple. Could an adult couple enjoy a Disney cruise?

Passengers come out for the Sail Away Party show as the Disney Dream leaves Port Canaveral, Florida.
Can Adult Couples really enjoy a Disney Cruise?
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/160s, f/16, ISO 200, EV 0, 28mm focal length.

I guess you can ask the same question to all of us adults who go to any of the Disney parks and resorts. However, on a cruise ship there is limited space and there are a lot of children, preteens and teens on board. I can tell you the Disney Cruise Line knows what it is doing. There are enough activities, locations and events to keep adult couples happy and relaxed. In fact, you have to take the attitude one would take at the parks and resorts. You do what you want and enjoy the experience. If it becomes to much to handle, you can return to your room or head to one of the adult only locations on the ship. One such area can be found on Decks 11 & 12 Forward.

Decks 11 and 12 Forward on the Disney Dream cruise ship are reserved for Adults Only.
Decks 11 and 12 Forward on the Disney Dream cruise ship are reserved for Adults Only.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/160s, f/16, ISO 200, EV 0, 16mm focal length.

The adult pool and four bars are located in this area with lots of space for couples to lounge in the Caribbean sunshine or curl up together in an over-sized chair. Entertainment for this area was a singer/guitar player who sang island and easy listening favorites. A cool tropical drink or other adult beverages are just a few steps away. The area was quiet and calm unlike where the families were frolicking at the Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck pools.

Note about the photo above: The extra Disney stacks you see in the background are from the Disney Magic who was berthed along side of the Dream when we visited Nassau, Bahamas.

When I travel to places, I like to seek out historical and cultural locations and events. With that in mind, my wife and I chose the Nassau Forts and Junkanoo Discovery excursion at the Port of Call of Nassau. We, along with two other families, were driven by a local tour guide to Fort Fincastle to learn about its history, walked down the Queen's Staircase and visited the Ivern House, which is an interactive museum that taught us about the Bahamian festival of Junkanoo. We, along with our fellow tourists, had a ball playing bells and drums as we learned about the origins and traditions of the colorful and loud festival. Even got to try on Junkanoo hats.

Scott and his wife try on colorful and heavy Junkanoo hats in Nassau, Bahamas.
Scott and his wife try on colorful and heavy Junkanoo hats.

Dining on a Disney cruise ship may be a concern to couples. It was not for us. Our table in each of the restaurants was located with other couples and families with older children. We had a most pleasant experience in part because of our Dining crew, who stayed with us each night for dinner. I remember grumblings from the very first Disney Dream cruises about the service. That is a thing of the past as we experienced excellent service. They were very personable, quick and remembered our preferences after the first night. We were so impressed with them, we called over the Head Waiter and voiced our pleasure to him directly. Then asked them all to pose for a photo to remember them by. A fellow passenger was kind enough to use my camera so even I could be included.

)ur Dining Crew on the Disney Dream taken in the Enchanted Garden restaurant.
Scott and his wife's Dining Crew on the Disney Dream taken at Pirate Night.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/8, ISO 3200, EV -0.6, 28mm focal length, bounced flash.

Do not forget to try one of the upscale restaurants of Palo or Remy, which cater to adults only. We enjoyed a leisurely meal in Palo as the Disney Dream left the Port of Nassau. Our server for the evening pointed out all the homes to the stars as we went by. The food was great everywhere on the Dream but Palo was just a notch above. Very flavorful and not too filling that we could not enjoy our Chocolate Souffle dessert.

Being a Disney-owned ship, you know you will see Disney's famous characters from animated shorts to full-length movies. Adults were just as happy to see them as the kids. Characters were around the adult-only areas as well as announced locations around the ship and on Castaway Cay. The daily Navigator newsletter kept everyone informed to what was happening and when.

Disney characters on the Disney Dream cruise ship.
Disney characters on the Disney Dream cruise ship.

You are probably all familiar with Castaway Cay's adult beach called Serenity Bay. Again, a nice quiet place for adults to enjoy the Caribbean lifestyle. They serve a BBQ Buffet right there so you do not have to go back to Cookies near the family beach to eat your fill. The Castaway Air Bar will keep you hydrated with its famous Konk Kooler drink made up of rum, coconut, pineapple, orange juices and passion fruit. Oh, yea, it's as good as it sounds.

There are many activities you can do on Castaway Cay. Before my wife and I settled at Serenity Bay, we rented bicycles and rode the trails out to the Lookout Tower. As the day was windy with a threat of rain, many others did the same. They have water locations all along the trails to keep people cool in the Caribbean heat and humidity.

A family riding rented bikes on Castaway Cay during a Disney Dream cruise.
A family riding rented bikes on Castaway Cay.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/200s, f/7.1, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 48mm focal length.

All in all, my wife and I found lots of places to relax and enjoy ourselves as well as things to do. We took in two of the fabulous live Broadway caliber shows in the Walt Disney Theatre, watched the 3-D adventure movie, The Avengers, in the Buena Vista Theater, took in the fireworks show and dessert buffet on Pirates Night, grabbed an ice cream and a burger from the quick service locations and drank strawberry daiquiris while watching a beautiful sunset from the promenade deck. As you can see, couples can have a relaxing, enjoyable and, yes, romantic cruise on a Disney ship.

Oh, and let me not forget The District. An adult only nightclub and lounge area with places for every kind of adult fun; sports, cocktail lounge, comedy, dancing and games. I even watched a Stanley Cup playoff hockey game in the middle of the Caribbean at the 687 Sports Bar one night.

Scott and his wife sitting on a port hole in the District adult only nightclub area.
Scott and his wife sitting on a port hole in the District adult only nightclub area.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/125s, f/5.6, ISO 200, EV 0, 16mm focal length, bounced flash.


Click here for more information about the Disney Cruise Line.

May 18, 2012

Disney Land and Sea

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Disney Land and Sea, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Disney Land and Sea.

Scott is on vacation this week. This time he is doing a Land and Sea trip to Walt Disney World which will include a 4-night cruise on the Disney Dream followed by a stay at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge. He'll be back next week with more Disney photography information and tips.

You can follow Scott on his Disney Twitter feed @Scottwdw or on Google+ at Scott Thomas as he will be posting comments and photos during the trip.

March 20, 2012

Disney Pic of the Week: On the Beach

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

There are lots of places at Walt Disney World to enjoy a beach but you can not go for a swim at any of them. If you go on a Disney Cruise to the Caribbean, you will stop at Castaway Cay where you can swim at one of two beaches. Castaway Beach is for families while Serenity Bay is for adults only.

Serenity Bay beach on Castaway Cay, Disney Cruise Line, Bahamas.
Serenity Bay Beach on Castaway Cay.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/160s, f/13, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 150mm Focal Length.

Lisa will be here on Thursday to share an On the Beach photo for her Disney Pic of Week.

March 4, 2011

The Disney Dream to Scale

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

It is not easy to convey size in a two dimensional photograph. If a person looking at the photo has no idea how big something in the image is, they will not have a reference to gauge from. That is when a photographer should supply a reference.

Everyone has read about how big the Disney Dream, the new ship in the Disney Cruise Line fleet, is but what does that mean exactly? I can give you the Dream's dimensions: 1,114.8 feet long and 121.5 feet wide. Sure sounds big, doesn't it?

The best way is to show the size or scale of something in a photograph is to include something of known size. Most people have an idea of the average size of a person. Adult or child. They can immediately judge size by seeing other people in a photo. That is how I will show you the size of the Disney Dream starting with Deck 11 and the Funnel Vision screen.

Sam Champion of Good Morning America, crew and guests before going on the air from the Disney Dream.
Sam Champion of Good Morning America, crew and guests before going on the air from the Disney Dream.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/250s, f/8, ISO 400, EV 0, 28mm focal length

In a previous post, I showed you the Funnel Vision, the giant LED screen. I am sure you can appreciate the size of the screen more after seeing the Good Morning America crew and guests standing below it.

I got up on deck early the morning we were to dock at Castaway Cay in the hopes of photographing a Caribbean sunset. While the weather did not cooperate, I did photograph the Sun peaking through clouds while a crew member cleaned the Disney Dream's bell. Do you seem him?

As the Disney Dream nears the island of Castaway Cay, a crew member cleans the ship's bell.
As the Disney Dream nears the island of Castaway Cay, a crew member cleans the ship's bell.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/80s, f/14, ISO 400, EV 0, 62mm focal length

The bow of the Disney Dream looks deceptively small with a Caribbean Sun and ocean in front of it until a crew member came out to raise the Disney Cruise Line flag and clean the bell before docking at the island of Castaway Cay.

When docked at Castaway Cay, crew and guests disembark from Deck 2 of the Dream. Walking next to the Dream really makes one feel small. I used a wide angle lens to further show the size difference between the ship and the guests walking beside her.

Guests walking past the docked Disney Dream at Castaway Cay.
Guests walking past the docked Disney Dream at Castaway Cay.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16, 1/60s, f/18, ISO 200, EV +0.7, 16mm focal length

For more information about how to show scale in your photography, click on this link: Showing Scale.

February 4, 2011

A Day at Castaway Cay

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Castaway Cay from the deck of the Disney Dream cruise ship.
Castaway Cay from the deck of the Disney Dream cruise ship.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/160s, f/16, ISO 200, EV 0, 16mm Focal Length

The Disney Dream Christening Cruise was for only two nights and included a day at Disney's Bahamas island, Castaway Cay. As this was more of a vacation for me and my wife, we spent most of the day at Serenity Bay adults-only beach. Upon disembarking from deck 2 of the Disney Dream, we made our way over to the Tram Stop to wait for the shuttle to Castaway Beach before catching a second tram to Serenity Bay. The Tram Stop sign says the next tram will be there in 6 minutes...Bahamian time.

Serenity Bay adults only beach on Castaway Cay.
Serenity Bay adults only beach on Castaway Cay.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/200s, f/18, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 28mm Focal Length

Serenity Bay is quiet, relaxing and the epitome of a Caribbean beach. The water was travel brochure blue and the beach invitingly filled with colorful umbrellas, chairs, lounges and hammocks for the Disney Dream adult passengers. Serenity Bay is served by the Castaway Air bar for adult beverages including the island's signature Konk Kooler rum drink and the Serenity Bay BBQ which is a smaller version of the BBQ served at Cookies near the Castaway Beach for families.

A starfish off the beach at Serenity Bay on Castaway Cay.
A starfish off the beach at Serenity Bay on Castaway Cay.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/14, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 56mm Focal Length

The water was a little chilly so not many went swimming preferring to enjoy the warm Sun with many talking about the cold and snow they left back home. The few who waded into the ocean found this beautiful and large starfish just off shore.

Lying on a hammock at Serenity Bay on Castaway Cay.
Lying on a hammock at Serenity Bay on Castaway Cay.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/100s, f/16, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 35mm focal length

I look peaceful laying there on the hammock, don't I? Well, after finishing my Konk Kooler rum drink, I found myself spinning out of control. The remnants of my drink went flying through the air and I landed with a thud on the soft sand underneath. Once everyone around me knew I was not hurt, as I had ended up on my backside which is well padded, they all erupted in a fit of laughter. I joined in hoping to keep a little of my dignity. Next time I will sit in one of those beach chairs.

The Castaway Cay Tram gets you around the island quickly and comfortably.
The Castaway Cay Tram gets you around the island quickly and comfortably.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/400s, f/10, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 28mm Focal Length

After my adventure with the spinning hammocks of Serenity Bay, we checked out the family beaches via the tram.

The Pelican Plunge water slide at the Castaway Family Beach on Castaway Cay.
The Pelican Plunge water slide at the Castaway Family Beach.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/250s, f/16, ISO 200, EV 0, 28mm Focal Length

Disney has recently added some new improvements to Castaway Cay including the Pelican Plunge water slide, a 2,400-square-foot floating platform, located within swimming distance of shore.

A tray full of food from Cookies BBQ on Castaway Cay.
A tray full of food from Cookies BBQ on Castaway Cay.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/200s, f/7.1, ISO 200, EV 0, 28mm Focal Length

All this relaxing really brings on an appetite. Cookies and Cookies Too host an All-You-Can-Eat lunch buffet serving barbecue ribs, island spiced rotisserie chicken, burgers, grilled fish, corn on the cob, fresh salads and fruits, flat breads, ice cream, complimentary soda and more. A Caribbean steel band entertains during the entire BBQ.

The Disney Dream docked at Castaway Cay.
The Disney Dream docked at Castaway Cay.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/100s, f/16, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 70mm Focal Length

All to soon it was time to return to the Disney Dream docked nearby. Amazingly to me, they back in the huge vessel for an easy return to the sea later in the day.

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About Castaway Cay

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