So in my last post, I shared about the first couple of days of our running away/sailing away vacation. Time to move on to our ports of call! Monday found us pulling in to Nassau, Bahamas. We were originally planning to do an excursion, but later decided to just stay on board. That turned out to be a great decision as it seemed like the majority of people on board got off the ship. After breakfast, Payton opted to spend time in Oceaneer Lab, so Kendall & I toured the ship, primarily the upper decks, taking pictures of Nassau. We also spent quality time in the Quiet Cove, adults only area. Neither of us can figure out how they managed to make it so quiet in that area, considering Funnel Vision is just on the other side! The hot tub was very relaxing, and it was neat to look down below through the glass panel.
We picked Payton up for lunch and had a quick bite at Cabanas, then headed to the Buena Vista Theater to watch Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. The theater was so nice, and we were able to see the film in Disney Digital 3D. The only thing we were disappointed about at the theater was not having freshly popped movie popcorn. We had been so looking forward to that, along with a nice big Coke, but sadly, the popcorn is bagged and the sodas are canned. And if you do get treats at the theater, just be aware that you have to purchase them, they are not included.
After the movie, we spent more time in the swimming pools before getting ready for dinner. That night we dined at the Enchanted Garden restaurant. The restaurant is absolutely beautiful. Our food was very good and our service team seemed much more relaxed. Dinner came more quickly and was overall a much better experience than the previous night. Our head server and assistant server even spent time sharing riddles and puzzles with us, which was so much fun. The only thing that I was disappointed about was that our table was on the outskirts of the room, so we really missed out on the "show" of Enchanted Garden, which is when the garden transforms from "day" to "evening."
Following dinner we headed to the Walt Disney Theater for the performance of "Villains Tonight." I have to say, this show was my favorite of the cruise. It was so funny! It's rare that you get to see the villains really starring in a production, especially one that kind of pokes fun at them and at times, makes you like them almost more than the heroes. We felt a special attachment to Hades, as the gentleman who played that role was the main staff member we spoke to during the muster drill on the first night. He was outstanding!
We weren't quite ready to turn in for the night, so on Payton's suggestion, we headed to the D Lounge. Payton sang "Rockin Robin" during family karaoke, then we enjoyed watching the family game show and dancing with the cruise staff during the New Years Eve party. Sea sickness was not a problem for me this day, as we were docked from early in the morning until 2 a.m., so the motion was almost non-existent. Yeah!!
Tuesday morning we docked at Castaway Cay. On the advise of our server, we headed down to Enchanted Garden for breakfast, rather than trying to fight our way through the crowds in Cabanas. It was much less crowded in the restaurant with a really wonderful buffet. Although we were all set to disembark, we had left our photo id's in the room, so we headed back up to get them. Unfortunately, this made us a little late getting off the ship and I missed the 5K run. I found out later that I could have gone ahead on my own, but oh well, it is vacation after all! So I got changed and we headed to the family beach. Payton and Kendall were in the water right away. We hadn't warned Payton that the ocean is salt-water, so he came up spitting a few times! That didn't stop him though. He took advantage of his time in the ocean. We moved on to another part of the family beach closer to Pelican's Plunge, the water slide area. The guys were headed out there when they found out that it drops down to 10 feet deep in places. That made them both nervous, so they headed back to the beach.
A bit later we began exploring the island, visiting Spring A Leak and taking the tram out to Serenity Bay. When we got back, Captain Jack Sparrow was greeting guests, and Payton had his picture made with him. Then he decided he wanted to check out Scuttles Cove, the equivalent of Oceaneer Club & Lab on the island. So we left him there and then did some shopping and grabbed a bite at Cookies Too. When we later went back to pick him up, he was ready to get back on the Dream and ride the AquaDuck.
We spent a large portion of the afternoon in the pools, on the AquaDuck, and snacking while watching Funnel Vision movies. It was so relaxing and fun! I even tried the AquaDuck and I have to say, I love it! It was a great time to play on board, as nearly everyone is on Castaway Cay. We rode the AquaDuck many times in a row, and had no problems getting into the pool or getting a deck chair. After a few hours of this, we cleaned up and decided to try out the Mid-Ship Detective Agency.
If you haven't read about the artwork on board the Dream, or seen it in person, be prepared to be amazed. Some of the art is interactive, meaning that when you stand in front of it, the art "senses" that you are there and then will share some surprise animation with you. The Mid-Ship Detective Agency uses the animated art to interact with guests as they go throughout the Dream attempting to solve a mystery. We solved the case of the missing paintings and had a blast!
That night was Pirates In the Caribbean night and it kicked off with character meet & greets in the atrium. It was so fun to see everyone dressed in their best pirate gear. We opted for t-shirts and the pirate bandannas we found in our stateroom. Then it was on to our pirate themed dinner at Royal Palace. Even our servers were in their best pirate dress! The menu was really fun and we enjoyed it a lot.
Following dinner, we headed to Decks 11 & 12 for Mickey's Pirates in the Caribbean party. We had a fun time listening to pirate music and Payton even played some pirate games. Then Captain Mickey and his pirate crew came out and put on a really fun show. After their show, we headed down to the Walt Disney Theater to see Mike Super perform his magic. What a neat show! Mike was witty, charming and engaging all the while amazing us with some very interesting illusions. It was well worth seeing. Then it was back up to deck 12 to wait for the fireworks at sea.
Now apparently Walt Disney World has ruined us on all fireworks shows. We groan about our local fireworks because they aren't timed with music on the 4th of July. And naturally, fireworks at sea, even if they are Disney and timed with music, just aren't going to be the same as Wishes or Illuminations. But, they were pretty cool. I would say the best part though was immediately following the fireworks when Captain Jack Sparrow appeared and he and his fellow pirates put on a brief show. We stayed for a little bit of Club Pirate, enjoying the dance music. However, we did stay up on deck 12, looking down at the very very crowded deck 11! Then it was off to bed to rest up for our day at sea.