Trip log, day eleven. Sea.
11-Night North Norwegian Fjords and Iceland Cruise on Disney Magic – Itinerary A
July 9, 2015
Day 11 – Personal Navigator
The final day of our 11-Night cruise began like most others with Emily going to the gym. Isabelle and I met up with her for breakfast in Cabanas. Throughout this cruise, I was happy to see some special items on the breakfast buffet rather than the same fare day after day. I may have mentioned this before, but the cinnamon rolls (sticky buns) were on par with those being served during Palo Brunch. It was also nice to see some breakfast sandwiches featured on a few different mornings.
This longer sailing featured a character breakfast which required guest to get tickets, but Isabelle was not interested in doing this so we did not bother getting tickets when they were available. Below is the perfectly designed to fit the display menu from outside Animator’s Palate.
After breakfast, we headed back to the stateroom to start doing some laundry and begin packing. Needless to say, it was an exciting morning. Once we managed to finish the laundry and pack most of our stuff, we headed out to lunch. We grabbed a Bay Breeze (drink of the day) from the pool deck and headed into Cabanas. We ran into my cousin and his family and spent the lunch hanging out while our kids had a blast at the “kids table” next to us.
On the way back to the room, I stopped to check the soft serve flavors and the pineapple was back. I gave it a try and it is nothing close to a dole whip. It tasted like a pina colada (which would be a great with some rum). Too bad we already packed the travel bottles of rum.
After lunch, we packed up the rest of our stuff (short of our evening attire) while Isabelle headed back to the Oceaneer Lab to prepare for the end of the cruise youth activities event in the Walt Disney Theatre, Friendship Rocks.
Each child that participates receives either a yellow or blue Friendship Rocks t-shirt and gets to go up on the Walt Disney Theatre stage for an end of cruise celebration with Mickey and Minnie dressed in Youth Activities outfits. During the show, photos and videos captured in the Lab and Club are shown on the screen in a scrapbook like montage.
During our first dinner in Palo, we asked if there were any openings for the last night. Sure enough Felice, Palo’s manager, had some openings so we decided to forego the Til We Meet Again menu and dine in Palo to end the cruise. One little issue arose… our final night was also our night for the Animation Magic show in Animator’s Palate, one of Isabelle’s favorite events onboard. If you recall, earlier in the cruise we gave Isabelle check-in/out privileges at the Oceaneer Lab/Club, so after talking with our serving team the night before, Isabelle was going to go to Animator’s and eat by herself. I accompanied her to the restaurant so I could make sure she really wanted to do this and to deliver thank you cards to Juan, Erwin and Luis, our excellent serving team. After Isabelle finished her Animation Magic character, we parted ways and I joined Emily in Palo. Isabelle told us she was well taken care of during dinner and a boy from a nearby table invited her to eat with their family, but she declined. She enjoyed the shrimp pasta from the adult menu and a Mickey bar to close out the cruise. After she was finished, she went to the Lab until we were finished with dinner.
I was the last of the group to arrive at Palo. Everyone was already seated in the private room in the back corner. Earlier in the week when we discovered we had the same dinner reservations as my cousin and his wife and some other friends, Tracy from TravelOnADream.com arranged for all of us to join together as a big group in the private room. This was yet another all new experience for me during this cruise. While we have had dinner and brunch in Palo many times, this was the first time we have been able to dine in the private room. Thanks to Tracy, it was an enjoyable evening.
Since we were eating with a group, I cut back on the number of photos. Emily started with calamari, followed by a half portion of a lobster dish called the Pappardelle Con Argosta.
For her main entree, she ordered the Branzino in Cartoccio off of the wine tasting menu. The sea bass was delivered on a cart still in parchment and and plated table side. The sea bass was buttery and flakey & the vegetables were delicious. It was uninspired with regards to overall flavor though.
I decided to try Palo’s Beef Tenderloin again hoping it would be as good as I once remembered. I do not eat red meat all that often so when I do order it, I am expecting something special. I was fine, but nothing spectacular. Honestly, I miss the days when it was prepared with a gorgonzola cream sauce rather than a little bit melted on top. I realize I am in the minority on this as few others at the table ordered the tenderloin and seemed to enjoy it. Like the Quattro Formaggi, I was hoping for something great I remember from years before.
For dessert, I ordered something interesting, the no sugar added Lemon Cheese Ravioli. The raspberry consommé was excellent, but it overpowered the ravioli which just fell apart in the consommé. I understand the nature of the dish, but it was a huge disappointment given the flavor was so good. I would love to see this revised with a raspberry reduction drizzled over the lemon cheese ravioli or at the very least served with 75% less consommé to allow the ravioli to be the focus.
Disney Dreams: An Enchanted Classic with Frozen Changes
We were hoping to get out of Palo in time to see the new Disney Dreams: An Enchanted Classic which has been revised to include a Frozen segment with Anna, Elsa and Olaf. Dinner ran late, but Tracy, Bill & I still wanted to see what we could of the show. We arrived during the Cinderella segment missing the beginning and the Aladdin segments. Unless I missed it, the coolest addition to the show were projections just like on Cinderella Castle on the walls of the Walt Disney Theatre. We were told it looked even better further back from the stage, but since we arrived late we ended up on the side down front. I was a bit skeptical of the Frozen addition, but I am happy (well depending on your Frozen stance) to say it did not feel shoe horned into the show. The Frozen sequence features Anna joining Peter Pan and Anne Marie on stage as she sings For the First Time in Forever. The show transitions to In Summer with an animatronic Olaf before ending with Elsa’s power ballad Let it Go. This, however, is where something annoying happened. There are now snow machines installed in the theatre, but the sound they make takes away from the live performance of Let it Go. I’m sure some Disney show runner will tell us it is the sound of a blizzard, but frankly to me, it was annoying. The theatre did look awesome during Let it Go as the projections turned the theatre into Elsa’s ice palace.
Disney Dreams remains mostly unchanged in that all the previous segments are still there with Frozen being added near the end leading up to the powerful Lion King segment. For those interested, here is the basic breakdown of the revised Disney Dreams: Intro – Aladdin – Cinderella – Little Mermaid – Beauty and the Beast – Frozen – The Lion King – Closing. It will take multiple viewings or someone with knowledge to say what was shortened, dropped or whatever was changed to add Frozen. Arriving late, it was hard for me to tell if the show length was extended or if portions of the some were modified to make room for the about 9 minutes of Frozen.
After the show, it was time to rush back to the room to get our suitcases set outside our stateroom. Emily and Isabelle were already ready for bed when I returned. I scrambled to pack my evening attire before the cut off time for the luggage. I ran down to guest services to put some cash on our account and headed back to the room to work on the a trip log entry only to discover my data package was used up. Oh well, I needed to get to bed to prepare for our full day of flights back to Orlando.
Trip log, day twelve. Debarkation Day in Dover.
11-Night North Norwegian Fjords and Iceland Cruise on Disney Magic – Itinerary A
July 10, 2015
Dover Debarkation Information Letter
Today is the day we will spend all day traveling home to Orlando. We went up to Cabanas for our final breakfast at 8am rather than eating in the dining room with our servers at the crack of dawn before heading off the ship.
The Dover cruise terminal made for a quick exit and we had an easy time finding our luggage; easier in fact than at Port Canaveral if you can believe that. Inside the terminal, there is free wifi, and again unlike Port Canaveral’s luggage area, you are permitted to use your phones. We arranged transportation from the Port to Gatwick airport with Paul from Kent Prestige Taxis based on the recommendation from our friend Craig Duncan. Paul’s father met us outside the terminal by where the busses were picking up passengers with his van and we quickly loaded up and headed toward the airport.
As we left Dover, we caught the last look at the Magic and briefly saw amazing cliffs.
We did not encounter any traffic, but DCL suggests to allow 2.5 hrs for the drive to the port to the airport. We arrived at the Gatwick Airport in about 80-minutes matching up the google maps estimate.
We didn’t shop around as we trusted Craig’s recommendation and we are happy with the results of our private transportation rather than a bus. I can tell you it was a lot cheaper than the transfers offered by DCL and we had a van to ourselves.Our first flight of the day took us back to Reykjavik, Iceland for a short layover. Turns out the gift shop in the airport had much better prices than all of the shops we visited during our 3 days in Iceland during the cruise.
Our next stop was Toronto, where I believe we walked from end to end of the airport clearing Canadian customs then going through US Customs where I learned the agent doesn’t really mean what he said when he asked where I came from… Apparently, Reykjavik was incorrect. I thought it was a straight forward question, but thankfully, Emily jumped in before I said something I’d regret. Seriously though, how hard is it to ask me where we have been traveling since we last left the United States? That I could have answered to his satisfaction.
Our last flight home was about 90+% of full of families headed to Walt Disney World and I cannot make this up; we were flying in the WestJet Magic plane featuring Sorcerer Mickey on the tail.
Upon arrival to MCO, our amazing friend Rose (who also was our house/petsitter) was there to pick us up just after midnight. We made it home to close out this pretty awesome adventure.
After all the luggage transfers, we were trilled to see the DCL wine glasses made it home unscathed!
I will try to collect my thoughts and do an overview of the itinerary and the cruise. Let me know if you have any questions about our trip or the itinerary in the comments below and I will address those in the follow up post.
Complete Trip Log Index
- Day 0 – Orlando > London > Copenhagen
- Day 1– Copenhagen, Denmark
- Day 2 – Oslo, Norway
- Day 3 – Kristiansand, Norway
- Day 4 – Stavanger, Norway
- Day 5 – Sea
- Day 6 – Reykjavik, Iceland
- Day 7 – Reykjavik, Iceland
- Day 8 – Akureyri, Iceland
- Day 9 – Sea
- Day 10 – Kirkwall, Orkney Islands
- Day 11 – Sea & Day 12 – Debarkation Day in Dover
Thanks for the updates. Really enjoyed reading about your trip!
Happy to hear you enjoyed following along. Thanks.
Scott. Thanks for making me a part of your trip. The pictures were beautiful and enjoyable. As you talked about the food, I felt like I was looking at CHOP and you were one of Judges. No doubt about it you would make a good judge. Have a safe trip back home you, family and friends. ( :}O)
Walt, thanks for following along. It took some time, but we made it home and back to our regular weekly routine.
Hi Scott – I really enjoyed reading your daily logs throughout the trip – thanks for posting!
I did have one question for you: in all of my previous Disney cruises my family has dined with another family during the rotational dining. In your logs, it doesn’t appear that you have that same experience. Is this a special request that you can make?
It is a crap shoot. We have been given our own table as well as seated with other families.
Scott, Loved following your trip. I will miss your daily trip logs, what is next for you?
Thanks for following along. I wish I could do this more. We are headed out on the Dream after her dry dock.
What a fun trip. Thanks for sharing. Loved the detail about the food. I was very interested in how you booked all your own shore excursions and transfers. I’ll have to give that a try on my next cruise.
It is an easy way to save money, but you need to understand the risk you are taking. DCL’s excursions have a built in safety net to make sure you do not miss the ship. If this is something you do make sure you allocate more than enough time to get back to the ship.
Just wanted to say thanks for the blog. I really enjoyed following it everyday. As someone that comes from Ireland, I’ve always found it hard to consider a ‘cold’ cruise such as this or Alaska, but I would be very very tempted! Where are you off to on your next adventure?
We are going to check out the Dream following her dry dock.
A cold climate cruise was interesting. I packed to layer, but I did not expect the heat wave in Europe during the first week when we were in Southern Norway. Thankfully, I threw in a pair of shorts at the last minute.
The cruise was great and we got to experience a lot of firsts, I miss the Caribbean.
Just found out today that our daughter’s eye doctor (from here in Phoenix) was on the very same cruise. It was his very first Disney cruise and he is hooked. He did say they felt like they were the only ones who hadn’t ever been on a Disney cruise before! He’s kicking himself after we told him about the benefits of visiting the future cruises desk! 🙂
We enjoyed following your travels! I wonder if your satellite difficulties stemmed from being so far north? We noticed on our cruise to Alaska last month that everyone’s dish was pointed basically toward the horizon so I could see where a mountain could easily get in the way.
Having cruised to Norway before, it’s the mountains and being in the fjords that keep the signal from getting through. We had to wait til we were out in open sea waters before we could get a strong enough signal.
Thank you for all the hard work creating the very thorough trip reports! I really enjoyed reading them and felt like I was along for the ride!
Looked forward to reading your blog every day. What a great trip!!
As always, I enjoyed living vicariously through your vacation! Hoping to one day make it on a European cruise!
I enjoyed reading your trip report. This type of cruise is on my bucket list (as well as Alaska). And you even got to experience Toronto, albeit from the inside of Terminal 3! We had the WestJet Disney plane on our way home from our last cruise in September 2014. You are right that 90% of the people on the Toronto – Orlando flights are heading for the World!
I’m so glad to hear someone else complain about the snow machines! I thought I was the only one that was driven nuts by the noise when they used it during the Beauty and the Beast segment…
Thanks for all the time and effort in your report! You’ve sold me on a Norwegian cruise!
Thanks for siding with me on the snow machines. I figured I would take a beating on that statement.
On the Eastbound Transatlantic a few weeks ago, there were a number of Disney show designers on board who gave some great presentations about their work. One session included the various effects and technology available in the Walt Disney Theatre. They admitted that the snow machines are very loud and have to be used sparingly. They also have to work with the producers and sound design engineers to try to make sure other sounds (such as music) can help to mask the snow machines.
Even the regular theatrical lights above the first few rows have audible cooling fans, but there’s always music and dialogue to mask the noise when they are in use. But if the theatre’s quiet and those lights are on, you can hear them.
I may be in the minority, but they took me out of the show and put the spotlight on the ceiling.
Glad to hear that you go to end your trip on the Disney plane. As a WJ employee I still get excited every time I see the plane coming around the corner! My parents were on the same cruise, so it was kind of nice to have your updates with what was going on around the ship as we got to feel (in a way) that we were with them! Keep up the great work!
We’ve been on a Baltic cruise from Dover & we’re booked on a Norway cruise from there next year. It has an unexpected benefit. We don’t live in my homeland which means we have to cross the channel. As the ferry heads for the west dock & the east dock is where the cruise ships are you get to see Magic for a good half an hour! Good lens & you get great photos. Not quite so good when you have to watch her disappear behind you as you leave. Good to know you had a good cruise as we were glad to get off last year after a cruise out of Barcelona.
How’s this cruise rank with other locations you have been?
Scott – enjoyed reading the day-by-day posts of your trip. Excellent as always. Informative, concise, fun, and something that I looked forward to each.
Thank you for your trip report. I thoroughly enjoyed especially Kirkwall was we will be there on the Magic next year.
Thanks for following along. Have fun in Kirkwall next year.
Hi Scott. What time was your fight out of Gatwick? We are cruising the EBTA and 1st Norway cruise of 2016 and I’m reading mixed reports of flight times. Disney and some guests are stating 3PM as the earliest flight time… others are saying 1PM is just fine. I just knew a 1;10 departure from Gatwick would be great but now I’m packing due to what others are stating. Since you just flew out of Gatwick on the day of disembarkation, would you recommend a 1:10PM flight?
Also, do you know what time Express Walk-off was available?
For our sailing it was 7:30 AM.
We had a 1:10 PM flight. We made it to the airport with our pre-arranged private transportation with more than enough time. However, the Iceland Air checkin line took a very long time which did not give us much time after going through security before the flight left.
We’d book the 1:10 PM flight again if needed. The key factor for our trip was we had a driver from the port to the airport, not group transportation.
Great… Thanks for the information Scott! We plan to use private transfers as well and will check into the company you used. And as much as I’m not looking forward to taking our own luggage of the ship, we will utilize Express Walk-off to give us more time. Thanks again, Carmen
Carmen, we put our luggage out the last night. I guess depending on when you want to be able to leave the port this may not be an option, but I judged wanted to share this info.
I’m a worry wart so we’ll probably go with Express Walk-off but thanks anyway! Still glad you mentioned it… If y’all had time without Express then it makes me feel even more confident that we will with 🙂
Thank you for the awesome trip report! We are considering booking the Dover to Copenhagen 2016 sailing as I may be able to take off a few weeks before jobs, but it is really stressing me out to book so last minute. One concern with the Norway & Iceland combo – did you feel like you really got to see the Norwegian fjords? I’m concerned that with this year’s itinerary we would feel like we were missing out by not doing the more northern cities, but Iceland is really appealing! Also, we ALWAYS book a verandah (all Caribbean sailings so far). We love sitting outside, both when in port and when sailing. Given the gorgeous scenery, did you feel like you got to really see it enough since you had an inside cabin?
Becky, I would book the inside stateroom again as it provided a dark place to sleep in a region where the sun hardly sets in the summer. I did not feel I missed anything because I went elsewhere on the ship to see the sites while underway. I am not a good judge with regard to missing the Norwegian Fjords as I wanted to go to Iceland more than anything else on the trip. Iceland lived up and exceeded MY expectations.
How were allowed to record your daughter up on stage during the friendship rocks show. Please answer my comment
At the time, there was no rule against it and pretty much every parent with a kid on stage was recording or photographing.
Did that say before the start of the friendship rocks show that guests were allowed to record the show. Please answer my comment
This was back in 2015, I cannot recall what was said or not said. However, video and photos were permitted.
Did daughter have an Magical moments certificate for taking part on friendship rocks show. Please answer my comment.