November was a busy month for our family, bringing a milestone birthday for my father in law and the 10 year anniversary for my hubby and me. To celebrate we booked a 4 night Disney cruise leaving from Port Canaveral during the first week of December, right after the Thanksgiving holiday.
Our first stop on the Disney Dream cruise was Nassau, Bahamas. As this was my 7nth cruise I was familiar with what the island had to offer but hadn’t done a real sightseeing tour in many years. We planned to take a private tour to see many of the highlights of the island.
The ship docked at 9:30 am and we headed up to have breakfast in Cabana’s around 9 am. The buffet restaurant was quite busy but we were able to quickly score a table for six without much hassle.
I took note of the extended seating options on the Dream which included a wide aft deck offering amazing, almost panoramic views of Nassau. Breakfast was delicious and the staff members helped to direct the buzzing cruisers who were all hustling fill their stomachs and get onto the island as soon as possible.
We had a slight delay in disembarking (hubby forgot his key card in the room) but were able to easily locate our private tour guide outside the Nassau port entrance. The port was bustling as always with hawkers battling for attention and business. Our tour was booked through Cheryl’s Private Tours and our guide Fenwick was awesome. He had a laid back personality and easily made small talk throughout our tour. When he met us, establishing a West Indian connection, he was able to connect many of the history and culture points of our tour to general Caribbean history and island/village life.
We toured from about 10:30 to 2:15 and then went to the ship to have lunch. Approaching the ship we noticed an open tent set up next to the gangway; returning cruisers were offered cool towels and could also choose from a selection cold flavored waters ( I noted citrus and cucumber options). These little details are what makes Disney stand out in my opinion. By the time people are heading back to the ship, they are most likely tired and looking forward to resting. Having this little welcome station right outside along with the smiling and attentive staff truly makes it feel like you’re coming back home 🙂
On board we realized that the buffet in Cabanas was closed; fortunately there were other eating options available on the pool deck at Flo’s V8 cafe. We picked up some yummy cold salads, wraps and sandwiches while the girls noshed on freshly made pizzas. The longest lines were for the burger and hot dog station but there was quite a variety offered there as well.
After a stop at the complimentary soft serve ice cream station which was supposed to be for the kids but ended up being a family treat, we went back to our staterooms to rest a bit. Our oldest daughter was still bouncing with energy and begged her Grandad to take her around the ship to work on her Midship Detective Agency case (The Muppets case of the Stolen Show).
I settled in on our verandah to do some writing, hubby got some work done (oh the joys of working remotely) and our youngest settled in on the couch to watch Beauty and the Beast (the television allows you to see almost any Disney movie or television show, past or present ON DEMAND!!! At the time of our cruise we were able to select from Pixar movies, most of the Disney animated films, recent Disney movies like Saving Mr. Banks, The Avengers and Captain America: Winter Soldier and older Disney films including the Hayley Mills’ Parent Trap and Mary Poppins).
When Jordan returned from her activity we discussed the evening’s plans with the girls; they opted to spend the evening in the Oceaneer Club since they hadn’t visited since our embarkation day. We bathed and dressed them for the evening and dropped them off in the club, just in time for dinner (tip: the Oceaneer Club and Lab serve dinner to the kids most nights at no extra fee). Since my in laws wanted to nap a bit, Joel and I went to dinner at the Enchanted Garden by ourselves. There we met our wait staff who had served us the night before; as part of Disney’s rotational main dining room schedule, we would be rotating through the three main dining rooms throughout our cruise with the same wait staff attending to us each night.
Our meal at the Enchanted Garden was perfect in every way (Flawlessly prepared gourmet meal? CHECK! Quiet dinner for two? CHECK! No restless kids? CHECK!). Our wait staff even kept us entertained with some fun brain teasers using the kids crayons at the table.
With dinner finished we still had about an hour to kill before the nightly performance of the Golden Mickey’s. We went back to the room and relaxed a bit; by this time my in laws had awakened and were ready to find something to eat. They went to Cabanas to get a light meal and then Joel and I miraculously caught up with them on the elevator on the way to the evening show.
I had been hearing so much about this Golden Mickey’s show that I was quite intrigued. On our last cruise we had the opportunity to see 2 or 3 of the stage productions on board and were highly impressed; still, we somehow had missed the Golden Mickey’s. Well. I’m not an easily “hyped” person so please believe me when I say that the Golden Mickey’s show aboard the Disney cruise ships is one of the best stage productions I have ever seen. The quality of the performers (singers, acrobats, dancers), the video interludes, the music, the themes, the Disney characters making their guest appearances….. All came together to make a truly memorable evening. ( I regret that I was not able to take any pics in the theatre; Disney is really gangster in enforcing the no photography/no video rules in their theatres).
After the show we meandered out of the Walt Disney Theatre to the Lobby/Atrium area. Here we relaxed a bit, people watching and listening to the acoustic guitarist and singer who were performing pop hits and holiday tunes. We were actually waiting for the Santa Ball which was to occur later that night. We staked out a pretty good vantage point from the next floor above the lobby which offered great views of the large Christmas tree and the stairs/stage area.
The Santa Ball was cute, starting out with dancing, singing performers in wintry, Christmassy gear getting us all into a winter wonderland spirit with Christmas carol medleys and perky choreography. The ball culminated in the appearance of Santa and Mrs. Claus who were later joined by Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Chip and Dale, all in their Christmas finest. The grand finale was the appearance of Princess Anna and Elsa who wished us happy holidays and summoned an explosion of “snow” from the ceiling of the three story atrium. With perfectly timed music (“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”) blasting from the speakers you couldn’t help but smile and find a warm, fuzzy feeling growing in your tummy. (Once again, my pics didn’t come out that well but I hope you get the idea; it was really nice and truly magical!)
It was the perfect way to end a fabulous day.