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Thread: DCL Wonder - 4/3-8/22 - Mexican Riviera

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    DCL Wonder - 4/3-8/22 - Mexican Riviera

    Travel Date: April 3-8, 2022
    Ship: Disney Wonder
    Itinerary: Mexican Riviera 2 Sea Days with stops in Cabo San Lucas & Ensenada
    Cast of Characters:
    Me (F55)
    DH (M53)
    DS (our son, 14)
    MA (DS friend, 14, who came with us on a 7 day DCL cruise on the Wonder during Spring Break 2019)
    JF (DS & MAs friend, 14)

    Plan: We were supposed to take this trip during Spring Break from school 2020. When that got cancelled we took DCL up on their offer of a 25% credit if we rescheduled vs. cancelling/getting refunded, so we did that and rescheduled for Spring Break 2021. When that got cancelled we took DCL up on their offer of a 25% credit if we rescheduled vs. cancelling/getting refunded. By this time we had enough DCL $$ to get a 2nd cabin and bring along a 2nd friend for DS.

    DCL requires and adult be registered in each cabin so DH and JF were registered in 1 cabin and DS & MA were registered in a cabin with me. After a DCL rep on the phone mentioned to us that Mickey doesnt check who sleeps where (*grin*) we decided to have the boys sleep in the inside cabin on Deck 7 and DH and I would take the Family Cabin with Verandah on Deck 8.

    The Wednesday before our Sunday departure I started having pain behind my right knee and was limping slightly. After sitting at dinner I had difficulty getting up as the area had stiffened up. By Thurs. AM the knee was frozen and I could barely walk. I was terrified what this might mean for our trip. I found a pair of crutches in the closet and went to Urgent Care where I was told I had strained a ligament behind my knee. I couldnt even straighten my knee enough to put my foot flat on the ground. I was told to stay off of it, ice it and it would be 6-8 weeks recovery. I told her that I had a cruise in 4 days. She suggested a wheelchair. Long story short, I stayed in bed for 3 days, iced my knee, took pain meds and arranged for a cane, a wheelchair and a shower bench in our cabin. Sunday morning I was able to put my foot flat on the ground and walk, albeit slowly, to start getting ready to leave.


    Day 1 Embarkation and Depart San Diego
    Sunday, April 3, 2022

    The morning started with me waking up at 5:00 am, followed by DS at 5:40 am and hubby at 5:45 am. After we all showered and put our toiletries in our suitcases (having fully packed on Saturday) fed the cats we were in the car by our projected 7:45 am, on our way to pick up MA who lives here in town with us. After many hugs and well wishes from his parents, we were off by 8:05 am and went through the McDonalds drive-thru for the 2 boys. JFs family lives in Riverside County and we had asked them to bring him to San Diego and meet us at the ship.
    DH had arranged for all 3 boys to get Cant Wait To See You Onboard calls from Mickey and Goofy and after those came in we settled in to our drive and MA quickly fell asleep, having had a late night being excited, per his mom.

    It was raining lightly when we got off the freeway in San Diego and as we navigated our way down to Harbor Blvd. DH dropped me off across the street from the port so I wouldnt have to walk from the hotel where they were parking. I walked past a Holland America ship and then in front of the Wonder. I took a selfie and texted it to JFs mom, who immediately texted back asking where I was, as they were parked in front of the Wonder. We found each other and exchanged hugs and excitement. JFs little sister, AF10, was not happy Brother was going to be going away and she wouldnt be with him for 5 days. Extra hugs and kisses for her. I asked JF to stay with his family as I was headed to go find the wheelchair DCL had arranged for me for Embarkation, and have a sit-down.
    I spoke with a couple of different DCL Ground Crew people and they directed me to go sit on a bench and they would find a wheelchair for me. I inquired about what I heard regarding Covid testing not being right there at the port, as had been the case for a friend a couple of weeks ago. Indeed, we were being sent across the street to the Wyndham, I was told. We surmised that this change was due to there being 3 ships (the Wonder and 2 Holland America ships) being in port that day and probably not enough space in the tent at the port for passengers from all 3 ships to get tested there. After DH and the 3 boys dropped off our luggage alongside the ship, they came to me and asked if I should take the shuttle DCL was providing for mobility challenged folks. I was feeling pretty good about my mobility at that time and decided I didnt want to wait and hold everyone up, knowing the whole group had to be together to check in for testing. If I do say so myself, I did quite well managing to not be too slow getting to the Wyndham.

    There were port staff members stationed all along the way directing us to the Wyndham, and telling us to go to the Grand Ballroom when we got there. We walked all the way through the lobby to a hallway at the back of the hotel, turned right and found a Disney-esque wrapped queue marked off with tape on the floor. The line wasnt too long. We thought this was perhaps because we had gotten an early Check-in Time (11:15 am) when we did our Online Check-in. TIP: Do your Online Check-in as soon as possible, folks, if you want to get on the ship early and avoid long lines for Covid testing. You can Check-in at midnight the day your window opens and this means 9 pm the day before on the West Coast. Just sayin. The line moved quickly and before we knew it we were at the head of the line and could see approximately 12 or 14 tents in front of us, each sectioned off from the others for privacy and we were assigned to go stand in front of #5 and wait until we were called in. Momentarily a technician invited all 5 of us in and gave us instructions on how to perform the nasal swab test.

    This was my first time doing a Covid test. We each swabbed our noses, 5 circular movements around the inside of each nostril. We did NOT have to go very far up, in fact, we were asked NOT to go too far up. A picture on the wall of the tent showed about halfway up our nostril. We then each stuck the swabs in our individual tubes and gave them to the technician and exited the tent. We went around the long lines of tents and were instructed to sit in the adjacent ballroom to wait. We were told we would get an email to the address we had given when registering with Safe Passage for our mandatory Covid Vaccination Proof. TIP: Make sure you use an email address youll have access to that day. I only have access to 1 email address on my phone. I freaked out that I had DH use one that I didnt have access to so he checked and assured me that indeed he had used the one I *do* have access to. Phew!

    Since we had a potential 20 minute wait ahead of us, I went to the bathroom. As I came back to the ballroom I could see DH gesturing to JF that the 2 of them had been cleared, high fives shared between them. I got excited and refreshed my email when I got back to my group. Indeed, we were Cleared to Sail as well!!! Woo hoo!!! Off to get in line in the ballroom, show our Cleared to Sail email and we were given wristbands indicating we had been cleared, and the time were cleared written on the wristband. We were given instructions to get to the ship within 15 minutes of the time written on our wristbands or wed have to come back and test again. Presumably that was to dissuade folks from going elsewhere to perhaps have breakfast, potentially being exposed, and then boarding the ship.

    This was our experience with Covid testing. Yours in the future may be different. If fewer ships are in on any given day, testing may be done right at the port next to the ship. YMMV. As the pandemic slows down hopefully this step will not be necessary.

    I was a little nervous about the 15 minute time frame, and walked a little faster than I probably needed to. We made it easily within our time frame and were ushered into the terminal to Check-In. So exciting! Having 2 different cabins we were sent to 2 different Check-in counters, but next to each other. I provided the Passports and notarized Minor Authorization Form for MA as well as our Check-in QR Code. The staff member indicated she was going to make a copy of it. I told her to be sure to take a copy of both pages as the 2nd page was the actual Attestation. I explained that DCLs form was not California Compliant (thank you currence and katiesue!) and that the notary sent along the 2nd page. She thanked me for letting her know.

    After a quick shot of the 3 boys by the DCL Welcome banner we were off to Security then to trek to the gangway! This was getting very real and our pace quickened, with my knee twinging a little from time to time. The gangway was really quite steep for my knee but darned if I was going to stop and ask for a wheelchair now, we were so close! Before we knew it we were being introduced by our Blended 3 Family Names and were aboard! Ohmygosh! I stopped to take it in but knew we had to get out of the way for the next family. A CM was waving us over to him and told us to go to our Muster Station listed on our Check-in QR Code paper. DH and JF went one direction and the other 3 of us went another. Of course ours was all the way at one end of Deck 4, requiring much walking. Luckily for me there was a Life Preserver Storage Bench there so I could sit. The Crew Member took note of our Cabin #, checked our 3 pictures in her device and tried to help get us logged into the app. I was having problems, but moved aside for other families coming to Check-in, knowing Id get DH to help me while we were seated at lunch. TIP: I discovered that my issue was that I was typing the hyphen in my last name. Dont be like me. Just a space between the names. Once I did that I was all set!

    DH and I took the elevator, and the boys took the stairs. They stopped to go the bathroom and we all arrived at Cabanas at the same time and washed our hands before walking in. DH and I dropped our bags at a table and I indicated to the boys to do the same to which DS said Do we have to sit with you? LOL. And so it starts. No, dear child, you dont. Have fun, be good, be nice to others dont push each other off the ship. Have fun, be safe, when we find out about dinner and let you know. *eyeroll*

    DH and I went through the buffet line. Today was the 1st time self-serve was being permitted since the CDC lifted the ban on them. Speaking with CMs later we were told that while it was lifted on April 1, they didnt implement it until today. We were very pleased! As we went through the line I found I wasnt loading up my plate with as many tempting items as I have in the past. Honestly, not a lot was interesting. DH and I both got some prime rib (what a chintzy thin slice!), a penne pasta with marinara and I got some chilled peel-and-eat shrimp with cocktail sauce, a piece of baked salmon (dry) and a slice of steak. We both got the lamb chop, but it was NOT the lamb lollipop of years past, as we have been reminiscing and dreaming about. This was thicker and did not have a handle. We were sad but tried it anyway. I took one bite and gave the rest to DH. He ate mine and his but did not get another. A sad change. I always like chilled shrimp, but there wasnt much else that was memorable.

    DH and I then took the elevator to Deck 8 to peek and see if the cabins were available. They were! Off to find ours. Our Room Keys were not provided at Check-in, rather we were told they would be waiting for us at the room, and indeed, clipped to the Fish outside our door, there was an envelope with keys in it for me, DS and MA.
    I took the obligatory pictures before we put any of our stuff down or messed the cabin up in any way. Then I unpacked our magnets from my carry-on bag, putting ours on our door. We took the elevator to go one deck down and saw that Deck 7 cabins were also open. Yay! We found the boys cabin and put their magnets on their door. DH got the keys off the Fish (he was really bothered that DCL was delivering the keys this way as literally anyone could take them and get into your cabin.) We messaged DS through the app that we had their keys. Some of their bags had been delivered as we left so we put them inside for them and went back to our cabin. Both of our bags had been delivered. It was only like 2 pm. Sa-weet! I think thats the earliest weve ever gotten our luggage delivered. I immediately set to unpacking while DH made a phone call. After his phone call DH unpacked and we left the cabin to go explore and wound up at Cove Caf. There was a singer performing so we decided to go sit outside as we wanted to talk and Cove Caf is too small a space for live music, in our opinion. We sat at Signals and had the Drink of the Day, Paradise Punch (Malibu coconut rum, acai liquor, pineapple juice, orange juice and Grenadine), but not in the Commemorative glass. We never order those. We dont need them. We saw the boys exploring the ship as they passed by on Deck 10 a couple of times. We waved and they waved back and kept moving. Ha!

    DH has been dreaming about the chicken strips from Petes Boiler Bites since we were here 3 years ago. Its always one of the highlights of the trip for him. So we went and got a plate with some fries. As he came back to where I was sitting and set the plate down I could see they didnt look the same as they have in the past. These did not have as thick a breading nor were as crunchy looking as they had previously. Indeed, they were nothing like they had been in the past. DH was very, very disappointed. First no lamb lollipops, then changed chicken strips

    JFs family was staying nearby as they were planning to take AF10 to Sea World the next day. I texted to tell them they could come see us Sail Away, which they did. Unfortunately, I misinterpreted the 4 pm All Aboard as being the time wed be sailing away (I claim not having been on a cruise for 3 years as forgetful brain) and they stood around waving at us for about 45 minutes before texting they were cold and were going to leave. We were finally unmoored and sailed away at 5:15 pm! However, there was no Sail Away Deck Party. We assume it was because of Social Distancing protocols, but there were no Social Distancing requirements anywhere else on the ship. We came to learn that there would be no large gatherings/parties except for fireworks on Pirate Night. We were very sad and hope those return soon.

    While we were waiting to sail away I messaged with Guest Services through the app (their preferred method of communication now) asking about our dining rotation. Dining Rotation was not printed on our Room Keys, as it has been in the past. The CM responded that we were on Rotation 2 at 5:30, table 75. Well, thats nice, but what, pray tell, is Rotation 2??? Seriously? Where were we to go to dinner tonight, please? Animators. Great, ok, thank you. And whats the rest of our rotation? They mustve gotten busy as it took a long time for a response and when it came it was in the form of an apology, we were indeed on Rotation 3, starting in Tianas. Um, ok, thanks. I realized later that this information was all available on the app but the CM at our Muster Station had given no assistance beyond making sure we were connected. Lesson learned. Wouldve been nice if someone, anyone, had mentioned that this info was available in the app. Oh well.

    After we sailed away DH and I went to our cabin so we could freshen up and ended up in front of Tianas at 5:30. The boys were already there. It turns out Main Seating is at 5:45 pm. So why did GS tell me 5:30? Sheesh. Why hadnt I seen in the app that it was 5:45? Double sheesh! I had a seat in front of the new (to us) French Quarter Lounge (formerly Promenade Lounge) as we waited for Tianas to open. When it did we were the 2nd party seated after we used the free-standing sanitizer dispensers. Our Assistant Server, I Gusti (pronounced ee-Goostee) from Indonesia, introduced himself and said hed return with some water, which he did and then our Server, Pradip (pronounced Pra-deep) from India, came and introduced himself.

    DH and I have never enjoyed this space. We have stories from when we were on the 2008 Panama Crossing cruise when it was Parrot Cay and DS was 4 months old, about how bad the acoustics were and how he would cry the whole time we were there because his ears hurt. The acoustics are slightly better now, but not as good as Tritons. The ceiling here is too low. Between that and the CMs all still wearing masks, it was hard to hear Pradip as he stood at one end of the table describing the food wed be able to choose. I think he made a couple of jokes throughout the evening that I missed, too. The menus are all available on the app and there is a small QR Code on the table available to scan and get the menu on your phone. I Gusti also brought a couple of paper menus.
    Pradip seemed interested that we had brought 2 friends along for DS to hang out with. He said he wanted to do that the next time we came and offered to hang out with DS. Ha! I looked at his hand to see if I saw a wedding ring, to try and gauge his age. I saw no wedding ring. Later we found out he is indeed married and has a 2 year old son. He shared stories of being home recently and how much his son has grown and how he misses him.
    DS and MA both ordered the Fried Calamari appetizer and JF and DH ordered the Chicken Bastilla (Moroccan spiced shredded chicken wrapped in phyllo dough, sprinkled with powdered sugar and cinnamon, with a vegetable almond slaw) and I had the Prosciutto, Mozzarella and Tomato Bruschetta. My baguette slices were too dry and crunchy for my liking, and lacked flavor. DH said the Bastilla was good, but not great. The 2 with the Calamari said it was great!

    I had the Arugula and Spinach Salad while DH and JF had the clam chowder. DS had the chilled Mango and Papaya Soup. MA didnt have anything for this course. My salad was yummy, and the red onions and sherry wine dressing made the salad! DH said after the 1st bite with clams it seemed to be a potato soup. DS said his chilled soup felt more like a smoothie. Um, yup. Basically thats what chilled soup is, kid.
    MA ordered the Penne Arrabbiata for his entre and said there was no spice in it. I tried a bite and agreed it wouldve been better billed as Penne Marinara. It was yummy, but was definitely NOT an Arrabbiata. DS had the Mesquite Grilled Chicken and said it was really good. JF had the Grilled Strip Loin and was very happy with it. DH had the Pork Tenderloin. He said it was dry but the mushroom and pastry shell made the overall dish good. I had the Pan-Seared Halibut. It was tasty but dry. The Shredded Potato Cake had no flavor. The White Wine Cream Sauce was yummy.

    I showed the dessert menu around the table and asked if everyone would be interested in getting 1 of everything and everyone sharing them, which we did. We ended up sharing Kahlua Crme Brulee (everyones least favorite), Dark Chocolate Bomb, Warm Sticky Fig and Pecan Pudding, Mint Chip Sundae and the Signature Dessert, Mango Marble Cheesecake. After tasting each one I asked who would like to finish which dessert. Luckily we came to an agreement and everyone, except DH (who was happy with 1 taste from each) and we each finished our favorite. I ended up with the Sticky Fig and Pecan Pudding. I had been wary of the pecans in the description as I do not care for nuts in my baked goods, but these were pulverized so much that I was only aware of taste and not texture of the pecans. It was fantastic!

    After bidding farewell to Pradip and I Gusti, and being told wed be in Tritons tomorrow night, and what our options were for breakfast and lunch, we headed to Guest Services to see about getting DS name moved on the registration to the inside cabin so he could get a key to that cabin, as well as asking for a spare key for MA. They were able to accommodate us and also provided DH with a key to my cabin. We had told the boys at dinner that their Room Host was only expecting 2 people so they needed to make contact and let them know there would be 3 and to please deploy the bed from the ceiling. After getting the room key situation ironed out, they went off and DH and I headed to Deck 6 Mid to pick up the wheelchair we had ordered for me to use during the cruise from Scoot Around. TIP: despite what a 3rd party vendor may tell you (I was told the wheelchair would be delivered to my cabin) it can only be picked up on Deck 6 Mid Ship behind the elevators. Also, despite what DCL told me when I called to tell them about needing special accommodation due to my injury, there *were* DCL branded wheelchairs in this spot for Guest use.

    I was really tired at this point from all the walking and use of my knee so I sat in the wheelchair and DH pushed me. This would be the only time I used it. *eyeroll* We went to Cadillac Lounge for Happy Hour (8-9 pm) for 30% off drinks on the menu, not 30% off ALL drinks. It was crowded and the only table available was in the far corner, next to the piano. We were able to fold up and park the wheelchair near our table and settled in to peruse the menu. I ordered the Alexander (Baileys XC, Fair Quinoa Vodka, Godiva White Chocolate) and DH asked for a Side Car. When CM Ryan brought them he pushed them on a cart which worked well on the carpet, but our table was slightly off the carpet on tile and when the cart hit the tile it spilled DHs drink a little, so he stopped pushing the cart and picked up a small silver tray with my Alexander on it, a creamy white drink over ice. There was also a chocolate truffle on the tray. He came right back with an atomizer and spritzed my drink and truffle with Brandy. Huh. Brandy Alexander. Interesting. That was a new one to me. The Brandy wasnt mentioned on the menu. I dont know that I really tasted a difference, or smelled one, but the presentation was nice. My drink tasted very similar to a White Russian. DHs Side Car came with a mini citrus macaron, both of which were tasty. I may have to order that next time.

    Folks were placing written requests on the piano for the piano player. He reached for one at one point and remarked of the 432 times hes played this song, Piano Man, in the last month, this time (30 minutes into his set) was definitely the latest into a set hes gotten that request. He loves the song and its the most requested song, but he thought it was interesting it took this group that long to get to it. He seemed amused. He stopped at 8:30, letting us know that he had sets later that night at 9:45, 10:45 and 11:45.
    DH and I finished our drinks and went back to our room and found the blue DCL blanket from our bed had been made into a towel/blanket crab and there 3 pieces of chocolate in front of it. So fun! Ive missed this extra touch. We watched a little TV, exploring the channels available, the movies being offered on the TV and then I finally said I was going to go to sleep about 10 pm. DH watched movies on his iPad and soon fell asleep, too. A grand end to an amazing day! I am so happy were all finally here! Besides not wanting to catch Covid, period, this is one of the main reasons weve been so good for so long, to be clear and test negative so we could get on this cruise!

    Karin


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    Day 2 – At Sea
    Monday, April 4, 2022

    Today started as most days do for me, at 5:00 am, according to my phone. However, it was actually 6:00 am, as we had been instructed to set our clocks Forward one hour before going to bed last night. I wasn’t sure if our Smart Phones would change automatically or not. They did not. After DH woke up we went out on the verandah and enjoyed our view. So serene. We turned the TV on and looked at the Cruise Channel for updates on how far we had come, how far we still had to go to Cabo San Lucas and what the temperature was.

    I put myself together hastily and went to the Cove Caf to get a coffee. A large Salted Caramel came back to the room with me as well as their Coffee Rewards card for a free coffee after purchasing 5.

    At 7:30 DH and I went to Cabanas to explore the breakfast buffet offerings. We have been looking forward to a specific item and hoping to find it. It reminds DH and I of an item from when we were in high school (in different nearby cities) called a Taco Snack. I couldn’t remember if it would be offered at breakfast or lunch. It was not at breakfast today. I ended up with an Eggs Benedict, a hashbrown patty and oatmeal. Unfortunately for me, my Eggs Benedict was apparently made hours before. The toasted English Muffin had crisped up to the point of being almost uncuttable with a knife. It really took some elbow grease. The oatmeal was yummy. For some reason I don’t usually go for oatmeal except when I am on vacation. Sort of like I really only drink tomato juice on an airplane.

    After breakfast DH took a shower then he wandered around and I stayed to sit on the verandah and read. My Mom gave me a book of Cat Stories for my birthday last week that I brought along. While I was there our Room Host Suratana came to say hi (and told me to call him Tana) and asked if he could clean the cabin. I said certainly, and asked if I could stay on the verandah? Indeed I could and he closed the door, promising to let me know when he was done. About 20 minutes later he finished and I read for a little bit more and texted through the app to DH and decided to go meet him at the soda station in Deck 9 where I filled a Disneyland tumbler with water and we went walking around to see what the lunch offerings on Deck 9 were.

    We settled on lunch at Cabanas as nothing jumped out as us on the menu for sit-down service at Triton’s. We both had some strip loin off the carving station, polenta cake, pesto orzo and garlic bread, which was very disappointing. I also tried one ravioli with marinara to see what was in it, as the sign didn’t say. It turned out to be shredded beef. It was yummy! I went back for seconds of everything except the garlic bread. There was still no Taco Snack-like item.

    After a short sit-down in the cabin we thought it might be nice to walk around. I got my Disneyland tumbler and we went up to Deck 9 where I filled it with water at the soda station. We had read about beignets at the French Quarter Lounge. We noted the wonderful theming, the street car and beads hanging everywhere, the jewel tones of the dcor felt warm and familiar from our visits to New Orleans. We settled onto stools at the bar and DH ordered a Sazerac and I ordered 3 beignets (they cost $1.25 for 1, $2.25 for 2 and $3 for 3). What arrived was nothing like the beignets of our New Orleans Caf Du Monde dreams. They came with a small pitcher of chocolate sauce which I suspect was out of a Hershey’s bottle, which was minorly redeeming to have something to dip the beignets (we discovered later they were billed as buttermilk beignets) in. Watching the bartender make his Sazerac, DH asked him to do a couple of steps differently. Unfortunately for the bartender DH is a Sazerac snob. He had to stop him from shaking it as well as not serving it over ice. We were disappointed in both items and did not return at all during the trip, which was sad because we always had enjoyed the Promenade Lounge and the small buffet with chips, salsa & guacamole.

    We remembered that Theme Park Trivia had just begun in D Lounge. We got up there quickly and heard the 1st question as we walked in. – DH wrote his answer down as we sat down. One of the 20 questions was worth a possible 2 points, for a total of 21 points for the whole session. In the end DH scored 19 points, tied with another group (of 8 people) so there was a tie breaker question. How tall is Splash Mountain in WDW? The closest answer would win. DH said 130 ft., the other group said 109 so they won since the answer is 103, we were told. After DH heard that he groaned and said he realized he got Splash in WDW confused with DLR, that he should’ve guessed 100. He was a grand sport about it, though. A couple of different times throughout the rest of the day folks recognized us and told us we should’ve won since it was just the 2 of us coming up with answers vs. 8 of them. I said it was all DH, that I didn’t help at all. I think it gave him a little confidence boost after that about his knowledge of Park Trivia. He really does know a whole heck of a crap of a lot… I’m just sayin’.

    We went back to the cabin for a little bit so I could update the Trip Report then we went off to Signals for Happy Hour. We both ordered the Drink of the Day, the Cool Breeze, which had vodka, peach schnapps, cranberry juice, Sprite. It was ok, not great. Wouldn’t order it again. Then it was time to go get changed for dinner.

    Dinner tonight was at Triton’s and it was the traditional French menu. Several of us at the table ordered the Escargot. DS had the Duck Confit. He tried it when we here 3 years ago and blew my mind that he ordered it then! He said it was just as yummy this time. I had the Leek and Potato Soup, DH had the French Onion Soup, as did JF. MA had the Lobster and Jumbo Shrimp and DS had the Farmhouse Salad. I think we were all quite pleased with our selections! I had the Chateaubriand Filet Steak, which Pradip described as “soft steak”, and I asked for a small side of the Conchiglie Pasta (lobster pasta) just to taste. DH couldn’t decide between the Chateaubriand and the Roasted Rack of Lamb so he ordered both. He said later that while both were yummy, he was too full and uncomfortable. He’ll only order the Lamb from now on as it was yummier. MA had the Conchiglie Pasta and DS and JF had the Chateaubriand which was served with crushed New potatoes with shallots, buttered green beans, red wine jus and Bearnaise Sauce on the side. We each had different desires for dessert so no sharing of them all and passing them around tonight. That only happened the first night. I ordered the Grand Marnier Souffle, MA had the Strawberry Shortcake Sundae (continuing his ice cream addiction), DS and JF ordered the Classic Opera Gateau (layers of Joconde Sponge soaked in coffee syrup, chocolate ganache and rich buttercream). After DS saw my dessert, and after eating his, he ordered a souffle and finished that off as well. Ah, to be 14 and have the metabolism of a teenage boy...

    DH and I went back to the cabin and caught the sunset from our verandah before venturing back to the Cadillac Lounge for Happy Hour. I enjoyed DH’s Side Car so much last night that I ordered it myself this time and again it came with a citrus macaron. DH ordered the Singapore Sling which also came with a citrus macaron. CM Ryan has been a constant here and is personable and chatty. We’re enjoying being in this relaxed atmosphere and comfy chairs. I told him I remember him from previous sailings as leading the Martini Class.

    We went back to the cabin and DH turned on Zootopia while I did a little updating to the Trip Report. Honestly, I didn’t get much done as the movie is so good and I got engrossed in it! When the movie was over I went to sleep and DH watched a movie on the iPad before going to sleep, too.

    Karin


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    Day 3 Cabo San Lucas
    Tuesday, April 5, 2022

    I woke up about 5:30 am and after laying in bed trying to get back to sleep I finally got up about 6:30 and went out to the verandah and sat until DH woke up at 7:45.

    We got dressed and went to Cabanas about 8 am and it was already quite busy, folks wanting to eat before debarking to their shore excursions. We sat outside on the very aft of the ship so we could get a good look around and took the obligatory pictures of the Cabo arch and surrounding landscape.

    There was nothing exciting or different on the buffet today than yesterday. I had the oatmeal again but skipped the Eggs Benedict. I had an English Muffin with cucumbers and tomato slices, but was disappointed with the sliced meat selection as there was no salami. This is a combination I usually always have onboard. DH got an omelet and since he didnt have them put any mushrooms in it I tried it, too. It was yummy and fresh. Maybe Ill have one tomorrow. There was no Taco Snack item today either.

    We left Cabanas and were walking around on Deck 9 and saw DS sitting by himself. He said JF and MA were still asleep. About 9 am he decided to go wake them up. We went back to our cabin and showered then went back walking around and ended up at Cove Caf where I ordered a small Mocha. I ended up being disappointed with lack of sweetness, added a Splenda and decided from now on to only order the Salted Caramel. I was glad I got a small today as I felt so full after the large yesterday.

    While we were at Cove Caf MAs Mom, CR, called me and we chatted, now that we had cell service again while in port. We were interrupted a few times with the crew emergency drills being announced on the ships PA and the horn blasts, but I figure it would be reassuring to her knowing that the crew is practicing to keep her son safe. 😊 They are trying to find a place to stay in their RV on Thurs. night so they can meet us at breakfast on Fri. AM and have a day or 2 for family time before Spring Break is over. We may end up needing to take MA home if they cant find anything she said.

    DH and I chatted with the CMs about the pastry display in Cove Caf as the selection seems better and fresher than we remember from past trips. We walked around Deck 9 looking at the Specials of the Day at Pinocchios Pizza, Petes Boiler Bites and Daisys Delites (the salad/sandwich station) as well as the new (to us) Bowl place in the corner of Daisy's De-Lites place offerings. The yellow split pea soup, quinoa and rice bases along with all the various toppings sound interesting. Not sure if Ill ever have room to try that place or not. Well see. We took the elevator down to Deck 3 and passed several large groups leaving for their shore excursions. We wished them a happy time and one woman wished us having fun having the ship to ourselves. Indeed! We had decided when we were here 3 years ago that we wouldnt get off the ship while we had someone elses child (not children) with us. Just too much f a risk with minor(s) that arent ours. Plus we really enjoy having so many people gone and finally being able to get into the pools (back when DS wanted to do that sort of thing).

    We looked at the lunch menu for Tritons and found nothing exciting or of great interest. We came back to the cabin and I updated my trip report and then we headed to Cabanas to see what the lunch offerings were.

    Turns out today was, predictably, Mexican Buffet Day at Cabanas. Most of the offerings were not of interest to me until I got to the Mexican items at the back of the buffet line. There were build your own tacos or nachos, plain tortillas and a selection of items to fill it with like shredded chicken, seasoned ground beef, sauteed bell peppers, lettuce, tomato, onions, cilantro (yuck), guacamole, sour cream and a few other items. I saw I Gusti from our Serving Team and described the Taco Snack-like item I was looking for that weve been eager to find (I didnt remember the DCL name for it), as I didnt see it on the buffet. He directed me to an item called Black Bean Burrito. It was small and fried. I said that wasnt what I was looking for, that the items was like Mexican sushi in that it had meat and cheese rolled up in a tortilla that wasnt fried, then it was sliced into rolls like sushi. He still pointed to the burrito, so I took one and said Id try it. I also got some chilled shrimp, nachos and a plain tortilla (that I thought for some reason was a folded quesadilla) and topped it with lettuce, tomato, cheese and sour cream. I got a glass of diet Coke and DH and I went to the aft seating area. My first bite had to be the Black Bean Burrito to see if I Gusti had been right and he was in terms of the taste, but I was still adamant that the item I remembered wasnt fried. It was the same flavor DH and I were looking for and DH says he remembers it being fried, but I dont remember it that way. Oh well. I had 2 more. They were small. The nacho bar was nice but the chips were cheap and thin, not sturdy at all, to be able to handle many toppings. It hit the spot for the moment.

    After we left Cabanas and were waiting for the elevator we saw the boys leaving the Edge. We waved and they came over to say hi. They were heading to Cabanas to see about lunch. We went back to the cabin and I got my DL tumbler and then we walked slowly around Deck 10. We hadnt been all the way around up to the bow yet, so that was a nice stroll. We saw a boy shooting baskets and the ball kept hitting the top net, the one designed to keep the basketball from going over the side of the ship. It would be nice if that top net could be a little higher so folks could shoot proper hoops without the ball getting knocked down by the net. I took some pictures of the landscape and we reminisced about past cruises and times weve sailed into Cabo San Lucas. We remarked that we think when weve been here in the past weve been moored in the spot the other ship is in today as it appears we are protecting that ship from the waves and the rocking that we are experiencing today. We dont remember ever having the ship rock to and fro the way it is today. Granted, its not bad, just that we dont recall ever rocking and the other ship doesnt appear to be moving at all.

    As we came around the side we went down to Signals and ordered the Drink of the Day, Sunken Treasure (Malibu coconut rum, Midori melon liqueur, blue Curacao, pineapple juice, orange juice & Sprite). It was ok. I wouldnt order it again except as a Drink of the Day. I didnt taste (or feel) any of the alcohol. DH went and got a couple of pieces of pizza, cheese for me and Slice of the Day, Soprasata for him. After we finished our pizza and drinks we went back to the cabin for a rousing game of Gin Rummy. After asking him to remind me how to play (its been at least since our last cruise 3 years ago if not longer since Ive played) I won after reaching 500 points first. He then did a little work on the computer and I read on the verandah.

    We decided to go for Happy Hour at Signals and I ordered the Mango Mojito and DH had a Mai Tai. They were both yummy and worth a repeat! About 4:25 pm we realized that we were sailing away. So weird! All Aboard wasnt supposed to be til 4:45 pm so we assumed that everyone must be on board already, but still found it odd that we left so early and with no announcements saying we were leaving. After sailing for a couple of minutes, we stopped again. Equally weird. I remembered that I had wanted to recreate a photo from 3 years ago when MA was on this cruise with us and I had gotten a great photo of the 2 boys on our verandah as we passed the peninsula point of Cabo. I quickly messaged the boys and asked them to meet me on Deck 10 near the Adult Pool area and Id get the pictures before we started moving again. They did and I got the shots I wanted then they were off again, interacting with me as little as necessary. LOL. DH and I finished our drinks and went to the cabin to freshen up for dinner.

    We all met back at Tritons again for the traditional Pirates Night menu. This is not a particular favorite menu of ours. We usually try and schedule going to Palos for dinner on this night. We had previously had reservations for dinner at Palo tonight but decided about a week ago to cancel. So we sat down to chat with the boys to hear about the adventures of their day. Between us at the table we tried the Samosa, Marinated Shrimp and Crab Cake. For the 2nd course the items ordered at our table was Carrot/Cilantro Soup, Chilled Mango Soup and Baby Gem Salad. For dinner the items ordered by all of us were the pasta with seafood, jerk chicken, osso bucco and the strip loin. I had a small portion of the pasta to taste alongside my osso bucco. While I enjoyed the first few bites of my osso bucco I was unable to eat more, it was so rich. The pasta was tasty, but as with most of the seafood prepared in large amounts, the shrimp was overdone. The scallops were still plump and juicy, though. My favorite! I always say if I had to choose 1 protein to eat the rest of my life it would be scallops. And my produce selection for life would be asparagus. But that wasnt on the menu tonight *sigh* We ordered one plate of the Shanghaied Noodle Stir-fry for the table to share. It was worth one bite each. We were not impressed.

    The desserts that we ordered covered the Bounty Fruit Cobbler, Bananas in Paradise and the Caramel Macadamia Nut Cheesecake. As soon as I took the first bite of my cheesecake I immediately was unable to chew with how stuck together my teeth were with the stickiness and chew of the caramel. Needless to say I ate the whole thing, but in small bites. I had a bite of DHs Bananas in Paradise. It was a fancy banana bread. Last night we asked Pradip if he had any magic tricks to share with us, as previous Servers had. He promised something tonight. While one trick was not magic, per se, he showed us one magic trick and one mind bender. We spent a bit of time trying to figure out the mind bender and had much fun, despite not figuring it out. I did manage to see how he did the 1 magic trick. We bade the boys farewell after securing a promise NOT to miss fireworks at 10:30 pm.
    I made the mistake of laying down when we got back to the cabin and quickly fell asleep. DH turned the TV off as he was preparing to sneak out of the cabin and I mumbled that I wanted him to come back for me at 10 pm to wake me in time to get to fireworks, which he did. We lucked into a spot right along the hand rail on the aft starboard side almost right up against the security fence, as close to the launching location as possible. It was thrilling as they launched right in front of us! They were so close and exploded with such a pop that all we heard was Ooo and Ahh with each explosion! A few actually lasted long enough to actually land in the water not far from us. I hadnt remembered music playing during fireworks in the past, but DH said he did. Whatever the case, the music played tonight was a wonderful mixture of Disney Classics and Contemporary.

    I made my way with the crowds down the stairs to Deck 9 and then slowly down the stairway to Deck 8 and back to our cabin. Due to Covid precautions there was no Pirate Buffet following fireworks, unfortunately. As I prepared for bed DH decided to go see what was happening at the Crown & Fin Pub that he had seen them setting up for earlier. He texted me later that there were potstickers, a crudite, wraps and small sandwiches. He had a drink and a few bites as I fell asleep.

    Karin


  5. #4
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    Day 3 - At Sea
    Wednesday, April 5, 2022

    My phone said 6:15 am when I woke up, but I knew that it was really 5:15 am as we had been instructed to set our clocks back 1 hour before we went to bed but I didn’t know how to manually adjust the clock on my phone. I turned the TV on, having turned the volume all the way down last night so as not to wake DH. I confirmed that indeed it was 5:15 am. Turning the TV off again I laid in bed just being quiet and reflecting on all that we’ve done, seen, eaten and drunk in the last couple of days. When DH got up about an hour later I took advantage of the moment and slipped onto the verandah to enjoy the early morning. I took several pictures of the changing sky and light and enjoyed the sound of the splashing waves over the sound of the creaking ship that I had heard whilst in bed.

    DH got up about 7:20 am and shortly after we got dressed and went to get a Salted Caramel in the Cove Caf. I remembered to take my travel mug with lid that we got on the Fantasy’s Maiden Voyage during this very week in 2011. A chocolate croissant and butter croissant made their way to our table inside the Cove Caf and I poured my coffee into my travel mug. It fit perfectly! After sitting for a bit and enjoying being there DH and I decided to wander to Cabanas and peruse the buffet line with intentions of not eating since we had 12:30 pm reservations for Palo Brunch, but of course, we had to see what was available… The usual items were there and as we got back towards the omlette station I spotted them. Mexican Hot Pockets! That’s the Taco Snack item! DH grabbed a plate and scooped up 4 of them, along with a Breakfast Pizza. We eagerly sat down, anticipating the awaiting taste delight. It was the taste we had been hoping to find! It was indeed the same taste from the Bean Burrito on yesterday’s lunch buffet, just in the not fried flour tortilla and sliced on the bias as I remembered. I only wished for a little more cheese drizzle, or better yet, inside. We had 3 or 4 each and DH ate the pizza. We washed it all down with some water and floated out of Cabanas, pleased we had wandered in on a lark.

    Back in the cabin I began to update my Trip Report and DH turned on Mary Poppins, stepping away briefly to shower as we needed to vacate the cabin shortly to allow Tana to clean. When we got back 30 minutes later he hadn’t gotten to our room, so I apologized, saying I needed to shower before our Palo Brunch reservation. We finally headed to Palo and were very excited to see if the self-service buffet that had returned at Cabanas had been extended to Palo. As we were seated we saw that indeed, it had not. *sigh* We started the meal with a mimosa. DH chose the Antipasta Appetizer and I had the Seafood Appetizer. Mine had an Alaskan King Crab Leg split in half drizzled with an herb butter, a Stone Crab Claw, 2 lemon marinated shrimp, 1 marinated Green Lip Mussel, Spiced Ahi Tuna served with Meyer Lemon, Saffron Aioli, and Cocktail Sauce. DH’s appetizer had sliced Prociutto, sliced Coppa, sliced Bresaola, Salame Gentile, marinated Cerignola olives, roasted garlic, Caciotta al tarufo, Parmesan Reggiano and a Sweet Pepperdew. The bread selection was divine! A couple of cheesy breadsticks, cracker bread, onion focaccia and a brioche roll of some sort.

    I chose the heirloom tomato and basil soup and DH had the celery soup with spiced Italian sausage and focaccia croutons. While not my first choice, his was actually tasty. Moving on to the egg dish, I had a tomato/onion omlette and asked that cheese be added. DH had the Zucchini Frittata with Arugula Salad on top. It was lovely. Mine was ok. I wish we had skipped this course, however. Our Server told us the Chef was asking if we were going to order any baked dishes. We had a 12:30 pm reservation and it was close to 1:30 pm by this time. We placed our baked item order. I requested the Chicken Parmesan. DH has had it in the past and enjoyed it very much. Nothing else jumped out at me. Well, the Artichoke Ravioli did, but in discussion with our Server, telling her that I am not a fan of mushrooms she informed me that the mushrooms were inside and not in the sauce, so avoiding them wasn’t possible. DH decided to order the Veal Satimboca after hearing the description from our Server. Both arrived and mine was indeed sublime! Crunchy, cheesy and soft cheesy arborio rice made for a fantastic combination. DH was not a fortunate with his choice. He said the veal was a little dry and the sauce was very salty. Lesson learned. Always order the Chicken Parm.

    Then I ordered the Margherita Flatbread and I wished later that I hadn’t. We each ate one piece, realizing the dough recipe has changed, that it’s not a thin and crispy as the pizette we loved and remembered. I asked if we could take it to go and was told they do not permit food to go. *sigh* Ok. We each had 2 more pieces (ugh) and ended up leaving 2 pieces on the plate.
    We had seen several vloggers rave about the Pistachio Cake so we ordered it for dessert. I wish I had also ordered the Panna Cotta but I was already so full. I didn’t understand what the fuss was about the Pistachio Cake. Perhaps it’s different on the Dream or the Fantasy? I was worried about cost at this point and the flatbread and egg dishes that were only meh, so I didn’t order the Panna Cotta. When I told DH about this later he reminded me that it’s dinner that is a la carte pricing, that Brunch is a flat fee. *SIGH*

    At this point I was stuffed beyond being able to move and went back to the cabin and laid down and napped for a couple of hours. I texted DH when I woke up and he came back to the cabin and we finished watching Mary Poppins then got ready for dinner at Animator’s. Ordered at our table that night was the Black Truffle Pasta Pursettes, which are always a hit, but me not liking mushrooms, are not my thing, the Baked Potato and Cheddar Cheese Soup, Butternut Squash Soup and the Arugula Leaves Salad. While I couldn’t imagine eating again, I went to see the boys, who I hadn’t seen all day. I ended up ordering the Arugula Leaves Salad which had arugula, red beets, orange segments, white beans (a little odd, but there weren’t too many so it was ok) after seeing it arrive at the table. That and the Sticky Toffee Pudding were all I could handle. It was fun to watch the boys’ reaction to the show! Mickey walked right past our table and the animation caught the boys’ attention and kept them engaged. At 14, not bad. They also ordered the Pennette Bolognese, Grilled Ahi Tuna Steak Herb-Crusted Pork Chop and the Ginger-Teriyaki dusted Angus Beef Tenderloin. For dessert our table ordered the Chocolate Fudge Cheesecake, Cookies and Cream Sundae and DH finally found his time to order a Mickey Ice Cream Bar! I’ve also got video of MA “flossing” (as in the dance) with Pradip that was a highlight!

    When we got back to our room we found the Gratuity Sheet and envelopes had been delivered. We dealt with those, picked them up from the boys’ cabin and went to have a drink for Happy Hour at Cadillac Lounge. I had the Alexander, which again came with a spritz of brandy on the drink and the accompanying truffle. DH again ordered the Side Car. We sat, talking of future cruise trips, the possibility of convincing friends (namely the parents of the boys who are along with DS on this trip) to come with us. We haven’t seen the Future Cruise Trip Planning Desk open at all during this cruise. (We found out later it’s not manned at all. That now the only option is to book a Placeholder Deposit on a future sailing through the app. What’s nice, though, is you don’t have to choose a date for a future cruise like you used to have to. You have 24 months to use the deposit and sail and by making the deposit while you’re onboard you save 10% on your future cruise. We ended up doing that on our last night and then wondered aloud if we’ll be allowed to transfer that to DVC and use some points and some cash…) We wandered through Crown & Fin Pub and were told that the snacks will be put out at 10 pm.

    We went to the room so I could update my Trip Report and then we went back to Crown & Fin after 10 pm. The snacks were indeed out. Small quesadillas, small round sandwiches (prosciutto, mozzarella & pesto and Cesar Chicken), a crudite with ranch & blue cheese dressings, chicken fingers and chocolate chip cookies. I got a plate of assorted items and found a table. DH joined me and when the Server came he ordered a glass of Syrah and I decided it was too close to bedtime (read: medication time) that I’d better not have a drink, so I had water.

    We finished our drink and snacks and went back to the cabin. I went to bed and DH watched a movie on the iPad.

    Karin


  6. #5
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    Day 5 Ensenada
    April 7, 2022

    I woke up at 6:15 am and watched the ship come in to port. There was a Royal Caribbean ship already there, in the spot we were in when we were here in 2019, so we pulled into another spot. DH woke up and came to watch the doings then we went up to Cove Caf to get me a coffee.

    After I had my coffee we walked to Cabanas and got some breakfast and sat on the Aft Deck and surveyed the Royal Caribbean ship and all it had going on. So much stuff up top to do! We wondered if the Aqua Duck-esque coaster was as long or awesome as the Aqua Duck and if it was a true coaster or if it used a moving sidewalk-type lift.

    We had forgotten to go to the Open House at the Edge or Vibe on Embarkation Day and we saw that it was available today at the Edge at 10 am, so we went and looked around. Lots of video games and kids sitting around. Our 3 boys were not there so we lingered a little bit longer, took some pictures and wondered why on the list of kids near the door 2 of the boys were listed on the Villains list and 1 was listed as a Hero. Wed need to ask them later (we found out it was part of a game they had played.)

    We went back to the cabin and were on the verandah watching people disembark when we saw a group of 4 women we assumed were CMs get off the ship and do a little dance. Today is the 1st day Crew Members were allowed to get off the ship and go into port. Once theyve gotten on the ship theyve not been let off until their contract ended, for Covid precautions. DCL didnt want them exposed to Covid in port and bring it back to the ship. That ended today and these CMs were obviously very happy about it!

    We changed into our swim suits and went to the adult hot tub. There we met & talked w/ other couples about their DCL & other cruise line experiences and we were especially interested in hearing about the 1st cruise they went on shortly after DCL resumed cruising. I commented how nice it mustve been to only have 300 people on board, but they said no, it had been creepy not having anyone around, that the CMs were bored with no one to serve. We ordered drinks (DH had a mai tai & and I had an Aperol Spritz). They are all booked on a DCL cruise during Thanksgiving Week and they said the ship will be decorated for Christmas by then. Hmmm something to think about for us.

    We went back to the room to change cuz I wanted to be up at the funnel for the noon Captains announcement to capture the horns afterwards on video. There was NO announcement that day and no horns playing. Bummer, dude. We went to Cabanas for lunch and got a selection of steak, chilled shrimp, a soft taco, corn bread and nachos again. We ran for the literal last minute of Open House at Vibe. There was even less going on over there. Our boys were not here either and DS didnt sound happy that we had been there when I showed him pictures I took saying How did you get to go there? Bwahahaha!!!

    We walked down to Shutters to see if we could see anything about their pricing because we needed to for spend our onboard credit and I was afraid of what shape wed be in if we drank the rest of it away! On our way to Shutters we passed the lobby and saw a wedding was just finishing and they were taking the last of their pictures. How exciting and romantic! What wonderful memories! There was no pricing to be found at Shutters while we were in port. Darn.

    Back at room I called MAs parents to talk about getting him back to them tomorrow and they asked if we could bring him home as they had been unsuccessful in finding a spot in an RV park anywhere in San Diego County or South Orange County. We said absolutely we would bring him home after meeting JFs mom & sister for breakfast after we got off the ship. We dont enjoy the ships breakfast on Debarkation Day and have made it a tradition to walk off first thing, with our luggage, and find a nearby restaurant for breakfast. We have one in Cape Canaveral we go to every time and found a location of a local chain DS likes and arranged with JFs mom to meet us there.
    I decided to take a nap and had a weird dream about the ship sailing in/out of LA instead of San Diego. DH and I got off for some reason in SD and missed the final sailing to LA. All our clothes were still onboard as well as the boys! We panicked, then I woke up. Phew! Glad that was not real. I met up with DH and we went to Signals to get a drink. The Drink of the Day didnt interest us, so I got a Mai Tai. He had had one already while I was napping.

    At dinner on Thursday we had all 4 Appetizers ordered throughout our table! I had the Shrimp & Grits. I have to get those whenever I see them on a menu as I dont ever get them anywhere around us at home (unless we eat at Caf Orleans in DL). Two boys and DH all had the Boudin Sausage Fritters, 1 had the Charcuterie Board and another had the Ahi Tuna Tartare. All 4 Soup/Salad options on the menu were ordered by various people at our table, the New Orleans Seafood Pepper Pot, Creamy Tomato Soup, Iceberg Wedge and Pickled Gulf Shrimp and Satsuma Orange Salad. The menu is so diverse and inviting! I actually ordered the Vegetarian Entre of Artichoke Ravioli in a Lemon Butter/Sage Sauce for my 2nd course. I had to wait a little bit for that to come out as the kitchen was prepared to send it out til Entre Time. But, it was yummy and worth the wait! DH, MA, JF and I all ordered Big Daddys Prime Rib for our entres and DS and ordered the Creole Chicken. Oof! It was a good thing Tianas Dance Party came along just in time to get us up and moving! Or at least got the boys moving. LOL. Luckily the other 2 boys were in the mood and dragged DS along with them. What fun dancing with Louie and the CMs and limbo-ing!

    Dessert came along and I was wary of the beignets, fearful that theyd be the same ones as DH and I had at the French Quarter Lounge. They were not, Im happy to report! While they did not remind us of Caf du Monde beignets, they did remind us of a donut, which was a vast improvement over the others wed had on this trip. The Chocolate Doberge Gateau (sponge layer cake filled with chocolate Chantilly creeme) also made a couple of appearances at our table. This was the night our Serving Team had decided to celebrate my birthday, and I received a slice of 4 layer chocolate cake with chocolate mousse layered in between and a small chocolate sign that said Happy Birthday. So nice! They had tried to do it last night at Animators for me, but DH had left to go to the bathroom and ended up having to go back to the cabin as the one near Animators was being cleaned, so we ran out of time and I said to please do it today at Tianas.

    Our dinnertime came to an end all too quickly. I asked everyone to follow me to Deck 3 Midship to find a backdrop and take pictures of our blended family for posterities sake. We waited about 15 minutes and it was finally our turn. We took shots with all 5 of us then some of the 3 boys together. We bade the boys adios and then DH and I found ourselves back in the cabin and saw luggage tags on our bed along with a penguin blanket animal. *sigh* It was that time. Time to begin to say good-bye to the Wonder. We slowly began to pack and somewhere along the line while moving around packing I managed to pinch a nerve in my glute and had sciatica the rest of the trip (of course radiating down the same side of my body as my knee/ligament issue) which slowed me down and had me catch my breath with wincing pain from time to time. And I had been doing so well

    We stopped packing long enough to go to Deck 4 and see the 8:30 pm Disney Dreams show. I had requested that the boys join us as I wanted them to have a Disney experience while onboard (theyd spent the majority of their time divided between the Edge and the Vibe clubs, not even venturing into the pools at all) and I think the shows in the Walt Disney Theatre are well done! There had been an announcement on Wednesday night (Pirate Night) that due to unforeseen circumstances the Frozen show would not be performed and instead of Disney Dreams being performed on Wednesday Night that it would be on Thursday Night and that they would be showing Encanto on the big screen in the Walt Disney Theatre on Wednesday Night. I was grateful not to have a young princess in our group who I would have to console over the news of no Frozen show.

    The show was really good! DH commented afterward that it seemed to have been missing a couple of scenes he remembered from previous viewings. Perhaps a small cast issue, he mused. The cast did indeed seem to utilize several members over and over in each scene, more so than I recall, and the curtain call line seemed smaller than in the past. The boys all seemed to have enjoyed it, so I call it a win!

    Cruise Director Stephen came to the stage after the show, to bid us farewell and let us know that he feels for us when we return home that there will be no one leaving chocolates on our pillows anymore and when we drop a towel on our bathroom floor that it will stay there and the simple solution is to come back again! We all got a good giggle out of that!

    We meandered through the gift shops one last time on our way out, and then stopped by Shutters to see if our pictures were ready for viewing. DH tried his card and the computers returned No Pictures so we thought they werent ready yet. I did not have my lanyard with me. We finished packing and I filled out the Comment Cards for both cabins (I always have A LOT to say) then went and returned the rented wheelchair to Deck 6 Mid and took the elevator to Deck 3 and went to the Cadillac Lounge for one last drink and final chat with Ryan. I had an Alexander again, really my favorite drink there of the cruise (it really seems like a White Russian until the brandy is spritzed on, and thats so minor in the overall taste) and DH had a Side Car. Both came with the small sweet bite on the side that it did every other night. We bade Ryan adieu, promising to return as soon as we could.
    We walked over to Shutters and DH told me to try my card this time (I had gotten my lanyard when we went back to the room after the show) and lo and behold! The pictures were tied to my card. So weird as I swear we gave the photographer DHs card. We skimmed the 6 shots he took and chose the best one of all 5 of us, and paid for a digital download then went to Crown & Fin for Happy Hour. As I was planning to take some pain meds for my sciatica, I had a water. DH had a glass of red wine. We each had some small sandwiches. I had a small quesadilla and some celery sticks.

    When we had finished it all we took a very slow final stroll back to our cabin and I went to bed and DH watched a video on his iPad until he fell asleep.

    Karin


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    Day 6 – Debarkation in San Diego
    April 8, 2022

    I woke up early, around 5:00 am, and peeked out the curtains and saw that we were still motoring along the coast of Southern California and were not yet moored back at the port of San Diego so I laid back down and turned my cell phone off of Airplane Mode and back onto Cellular. I scrolled through Facebook a bit, surfed the internet and looked at the news a bit and about 6:30 am I texted my Mom and told her we were back, as indeed, we had arrived at the dock.

    DH woke shortly after and looked outside. We both showered and put our remaining toiletries in our suitcases. I looked at the app and discovered that we still had like $21.50 to spend of our onboard credit, so I went down to Shutters and ordered another download of a different picture from last night. DS texted and asked what time we were meeting in the lobby. I invited him to bring the boys and their bags to our cabin, as they hadn’t been to our cabin yet. They agreed and came up about 7:30 and hung out on the verandah, watching all the doings down below.

    Shortly before 8 am we took the elevator down to Deck 3 Mid and the debarkation process had begun, so we reluctantly walked off, crossed the street and went to where DH and the boys had left the car 5 days prior. We loaded all the bags and boys in, having an extra boy and his 2 bags (1 suitcase and 1 backpack) than we had on the trip on Sunday. Fortunately it was a short ride to the restaurant to meet JF’s Mom, where we had breakfast, told stories, showed pictures, and gave her back our borrowed boy and his bags. She texted me later pictures of him sprawled out in the front seat of the car. Asleep. And then again across his bed, with his legs hanging off. Asleep.


    Reflections:
    I don’t remember being disappointed in the food as much on past cruises as I was this time. It wasn’t bad, just sort of meh, bland, unexciting, repeats. And the items that used to be meh were really good this time, mainly the sweets in the case at Cove Caf.

    The 5 day is really still so very short. We feel like we barely got to relax and unwind. We much prefer the 7 day cruises. Unfortunately, the time of DS’ Spring Break next year the cruise for the Mexican Riviera cruise is a 5 day again, this same itinerary.

    We really drank A LOT on this trip. My waistline is not happy about it. We had almost $1,000.00 onboard credit we had to use (or we’d lose it) based on all the times our trip got cancelled and rescheduled with the extra $$ DCL offered us. The boys really didn’t get many smoothies or many souvenirs. We ordered 2 Shutters downloads and bought a few things in the shops. About a third of it was allocated to gratuities, so that helped a bit. I think after all was said and done we left somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 cents unspent. Yowza!

    We definitely need to bring another friend along to keep DS company if/when we do this again. He says he’d prefer just 1 in the future as it was hard sometimes when 2 of them wanted to do something and the 3rd boy didn’t.

    The 2nd cabin was a blessing, but not something we’ll be able to do again, I don’t think. It really gave the boys room to be by themselves and be really away from us, have some independence and not have too many of us in the same small space, while affording us time alone.

    Karin


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