Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Great Christmas Surprise, part 2– The Ship


Back in September/ October, my  mom and I started planning a fantastic Christmas vacation for them, my  boys and me on a Disney cruise.  {My wonderful husband had started a new job and had no vacation time.  This has been a challenging year financially and he just could not take unpaid time off.}  In November, they prepared a fun video to reveal their Christmas surprise (posted here). 

Because of weather systems throughout the east coast, we ended up leaving a day early to arrive in Orlando with plenty of time to avoid snow and ice delays.  Thankfully, our flights had been booked through Disney Cruise Lines and they were easily able to rearrange our flight for Saturday morning – for no additional fee!  We took off from Philadelphia right as the snow storms blew into the Philly area, and landed in 60+ degree weather in Orlando.  Not a bad trade for my tastes.

After meeting my parents at the airport on Sunday and being carted to Port Canaveral, we boarded the ship and got used to our surroundings:



You can see my dad’s head peaking around the divider between our verandas.  By dinner, this divider had been removed and we could share another entrance between the rooms and a larger outdoor space.  I hadn’t thought that a veranda was a big deal, but I have to admit that I LOVED sitting out here and reading a book.

Our stateroom had a number of features that we all loved.  The bathroom shower and commode are divided into two separate sections, each with a sink.  This was very helpful!  The boys argued over who got to sleep in the pull down bunk, and there was also a pull out couch that Ben slept on.  



Dressed for dinner.  I’m really grateful for that this wasn’t a formal cruise.  I actually wore this same dress for dinner every night of our 4-day cruise!  Each boy brought one non-athletic set of shorts and a collared shirt and we called that ‘cruise casual.’  It was interesting to see the variety of clothes worn by different families.  There were always lots of princesses around (it is a Disney cruise after all), but men and boys were dressed in everything from Dockers-type pants and sport shirts to shorts and sandals.  I saw a few moms with fancier dresses than mine, but I never felt self-conscious for wearing this sun dress.


Here are some pictures of our ship, the Disney Dream.  It had 14 deck levels.


Our first glimpse of the ship:


We had never seen any floaty thing this big before!



I’ve never seen the interior of any other ship, but I thought the Dream was a beautiful ship!  I loved the open, multi-storied lobby entrance.

When we boarded the ship, we were greeted by family name and holiday dressed stewards.

I love this picture my mom took of the lobby area.  This is looking towards the aft of the boat, and we entered the ship on the left side, by the Christmas tree:

In the late afternoons and evenings, a fun musician and her guitar-accompanist sang 70s, 80s and 90s pop tunes.  I loved passing through the lobby hearing tunes I had grown up with.  And, there were always one or two characters around for a photo op. 

After boarding the ship and eating at the plentiful buffet Cabanas on deck 11…


we toured the ship to find the children’s activities:


Although I signed Luke and Levi up to be able to participate in Oceaneer Lab (a section of the Oceaneer Club for ages 4-12, but it seemed to be geared for the older segment of this broad age range), they never attended any of the activities – we just had too much to do.  [And, to be honest, I don’t go on vacation with my boys to send them away, so I was fine with their personal choice of participation in these youth clubs.]

I appreciated that there were age overlaps in all the youth programming, and Luke and Ben were the perfect ages to take advantage of this.  The tween program is for ages 11-14 and is located in one of the red funnels in the ship.  Luke and Ben both went up to this program, called Edge, to participate in a Wii challenge. Luke also went up to watch a movie.  The teen program Vibe is for ages 14-17.  Ben only participated once in this program.  He had really been looking forward to getting on a treadmill and  running, but he could only access the gym by going with the Vibe staff at 9pm for an hour.


dlkrug1 said...

What an awesome trip for you guys! Those memories will last a lifetime.

Mary said...

Awesome!! I have always wanted to do a Disney Cruise.