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View Full Version : On the Bus... [JeffG - October 2007 - Disney Wonder]



JeffG
10-14-2007, 10:28 AM
I just figured I would take the opportunity to post from my laptop that I am on the bus to Port Canaveral... :)

I figure this is a good start for a trip report...

-Jeff

JeffG
10-14-2007, 07:50 PM
It is about 10:45pm and I'm actually on-board the Disney Wonder now, posting from the Internet Cafe. So far, we are having a great time! This is our second cruise (first was a 7-night cruise on our honeymoon seven years ago) and, so far, it is as much fun as we remembered. This time we are on a 4-night cruise and it is definitely a somewhat different vibe in that we have our nearly 4-year-old son with us and have also been joined by my parents and sister. So far, it does make for a fun family gathering!

Dinner tonight was in Triton's. I had a chilled shrimp medley for the starter, beef tenderloin for the entree, and a grand marnier souflet for dessert. Everything was excellent. The shrimp was very fresh and tasty and the beef was so lean and tender that a steak knife was pretty much not needed. The soufflet was delicious as well. After I had finished my actual dessert, they brought a great big slice of birthday cake for me (today is my birthday). The cake was a berry cheesecake with a white chocolate miniature ship on top. The piece of cake was huge and was also delicious, although I was too full to eat more than a few bites. I did take it "to go" and have it in the stateroom refrigerator now. I'm sure I'll find time to eat more of it later. :)

Tomorrow we are in Nassau and have already purchased an excursion to the Atlantis resort. Our son loves sea animals, so I'm sure he will really enjoy going through the aquarium there.

-Jeff

GusMan
10-15-2007, 07:14 AM
Hey Jeff... hope you had a great birthday. What a great place to be to celebrate! I look forward to hearing more about your trip.

Man, do I love going on those cruises.... maybe in a couple of years Ill get to go again. :)

dsnyredhead
10-15-2007, 01:15 PM
Atlantis was nice, although we might have seen more if we had walked through it on our own. We are having a great time on the Wonder!

JeffG
10-15-2007, 07:47 PM
Today's port-of-call on the cruise was Nassau in The Bahamas. This morning, we got up early enough to go down to Tritons for a table-service breakfast. I ordered french toast and bacon. The french toast was very thick and rich with a dusting of cinnamon and powdered sugar. It was really very good.

As always, the service on the ship is a big part of the experience as well. The syrup for the french toast was served directly by the wait staff. They also had someone circulating around the restaurant with a big plate of various rolls, danish, croissants, and other similar treats. My son and I each had a cinnamon roll and really enjoyed them a lot.

Of course, one of the advantages of dining on a cruise ship is that there are a lot of choices and it is generally possible to have as much or as little food as fits your appetite at any given meal. Most of us had fairly good size breakfasts, including my french toast, eggs benedict for my father, an omelette for my mother, and pancakes for my sister. On the other hand, my wife and son each decided that they really only wanted a bowl of cereal and some bread or a roll and they were easily able to accommodate those requests as well.

Prior to the trip, we had booked the "Discover Atlantis" shore excursion for today. This excursion included a 15-minute bus ride/city tour as transportation over to the Atlantis Resort and Casino and then a walking tour of the fairly extensive aquarium at the resort. While we definitely enjoyed ourselves, I'm not sure it really was worth paying for a specific excursion. If we were to do the same trip again, I think it would be wiser to simply arrange for a taxi or ferry boat directly to Atlantis and then explore the resort at our own leisure. The tour guides were very friendly and knowledgeable, but the information they were conveying wasn't particularly interesting or enlightening.

The complex itself is pretty impressive, although very reminiscent of the kind of casino complex that we are already pretty used to from trips to Las Vegas. It does make good use of the island setting, including an extensive filtration system that captures and recycles ocean water for use both in private swimming areas and the aquarium. The whole resort, including the aquarium, is themed (somewhat lightly) with various artifacts and architecture that is supposed to originate with the lost continent mythology.

The aquarium is very nice, with a pretty decent selection of marine wildlife. Some of the highlights included enormous groupers, various rays, and an exhibit of sharks. The shark exhibit includes an acrylic tube walk-through that is kind of similar to the one that they had at Sea World (although without the moving sidewalk). One nice touch is the inclusion of a small "Finding Nemo" section where they have entire tanks full of clownfish and blue fish (I can't remember off-hand what species Dory is...) That's a nice accommodation for the high demand to see those fish, particularly among kids.

Right now, we are taking a bit of an afternoon break in order to get a load of laundry cleaned and catch our breath a bit before dinner. Dinner tonight is at Animator's Palate and we also expect to catch the stage show "Hercules - The Muse-ical" later this evening. Dinner is about 15 minutes from now, although I'm writing this offline and who knows when I will actually get a chance to connect and post it. :)


Follow-up: Actually posting around 10:45pm. Didn't know they had wifi in staterooms now...

-Jeff

Tony
10-16-2007, 10:34 AM
Sounds like you are having a lot of fun!

dsnyredhead
10-17-2007, 04:54 PM
Sounds like you are having a lot of fun!

Yes we are! Today we were at sea and tomorrow we disembark back at Port Canaveral. The kid is having a blast with all the attention he is getting around the ship and we are having way too much food. We have about five days at WDW after we get off the boat.

JeffG
10-18-2007, 01:37 PM
We are back at WDW now and also back where my Sprint broadband modem will work again (meaning no more huge, outside the ordinary charges for net access). As I find time, I'll catch up with reports from the rest of the Cruise and our next few days at WDW. Of course, I don't expect our schedule to slow down too much as we spend the next few days hitting the parks. :)

Right now, we are in our room at the Wilderness Lodge Villas, doing some laundry and resting up a bit after getting up way too early this morning for our disembarkment day. We did spend a few hours at the Magic Kingdom this morning/afternoon while waiting for or room to become available and we have reservations for dinner tonight at Whispering Canyon.

Hopefully we can manage a bit of rest tonight and be somewhat refreshed to start more fully enjoying the parks tomorrow.

-Jeff

JeffG
10-19-2007, 07:12 AM
I’ve already mentioned in a previous post that dinner on our first night was at Triton’s. This is the most upscale of the regular dining rooms, not including the special adult-only restaurant, Palo. The restaurant is lightly themed to The Little Mermaid, but doesn’t generally include any show elements or anything like that. It is a very attractive and elegant dining room. This is also the one restaurant that differs from those on Disney Magic, which has a dining room themed to Beauty and the Beast (Lumiere’s) instead. That made this one a somewhat new experience for us, although the overall atmosphere of the two is really pretty similar.

Dinners on our second and third nights of the cruise were at Animator’s Palate, which is the cruise line’s most showy restaurant. The restaurant is entirely themed to Disney animation and is designed so that, over the course of a dinner, the surroundings can transform from black and white to color. This is accomplished through a fairly sophisticated system of video projections and lighting effects.

As is pretty often the case, one of the most effective elements is actually the most low-tech, though. During most of the meal, the entire serving staff is dressed in vests decorated with black and white drawings. During a fairly flashy finale of music and lighting effects (right before the dessert course), the serving staff all leave the dining room and return wearing vests decorated in the same design, but this time in full color. It really makes a surprisingly big impact.

The overall effect of the dining room’s transition is mostly kept pretty low-key and subtle, in order to keep it from becoming too distracting during the meal. This is likely a wise choice, but it might also make the show aspect seem a bit disappointing since Disney’s hype for that aspect does probably raise expectations a bit higher than it can really meet. I admit that my wife and I generally felt that way about it during our first cruise, but I generally enjoyed it more this time when I had a better idea about what to expect.

Since it is a 4-night cruise and there are only 3 main dining rooms, there has to be one that is repeated. On our cruise, everyone ate in the same dining room on both the 2nd and 3rd night. On the 2nd night, the regular program/menu for that dining room is featured and on the 3rd night was a special pirate-themed dinner to tie-in with the “Pirates in the Caribbean” deck party held later that night. While our extra night was also at Animator’s Palate, it didn’t include the full show. Instead, the restaurant was kept in “full-color” mode for the entire meal while pirate-themed music was played. They also were showing various nautical-themed Disney cartoons on the video screens. Finally, the pirate theme was further reinforced by bandanas that were worn by all the serving staff and provided to all the guests as well as menus that were printed on souvenir scrolls.

Dinner on the final night of our cruise was at the tiki-themed Parrot Cay. This restaurant kind of looks like what you would generally expect to get had the Disneyland Tiki Room been made into a restaurant. The only thing it really is missing is the animatronic birds, flowers, and tikis, although those would probably be too distracting at dinner. :) There isn’t really too much of a show element to the dinner there, although they do celebrate the serving staff with a parade of nations towards the end of the meal. During this parade, servers carry flags from their nation of origin while “It’s a Small World” (unfortunately a pretty bad pop cover of it…) plays on the sound system.

That covers the three main dining rooms. I’ll likely post more about the food itself as well as our experiences with Palo (we had brunch there yesterday) at a later time.