Trip log, day three. Castaway Cay.
3-Night Bahamian Cruise from Port Canaveral
February 21, 2016
Day 3 – Personal Navigator
Castaway Cay, our first and only port of call on this 3-night sailing was in reach. It was a refreshing moment during breakfast when we walked outside and saw calm water surrounding the island. In recent weeks, there have been many missed calls to Castaway Cay due to high winds and currents. Thankfully, Mother Nature was on our side today and Captain Marco had an easy time maneuvering into her berth.
Following breakfast, we grabbed our day bags and headed to deck 3 forward for the pre-Castaway Cay 5k meeting in Fathoms. This allows all runners to pick up their bibs while members of the cruise staff go over the course and answer any questions. Before we get any further, I want to point out Emily was the only one running in our group. While the Castaway Cay 5k is limited to guests 10 or older, we did see a number of younger racers accompanying their family members. One group even made a homemade running bib for the child. Basically, Disney will not let you sign up for the race if you are under 10, but they will not stop you from participating. I cannot say if the underage runners were given finisher medals upon their completion.
I was also pleased to learn Scuttles Cove was open and ready for runners with younger kids. Runners with kids were allowed to debark first to provide them the opportunity to check the kids into the secured youth space on the island and still make the start of the Castaway Cay 5k.
Isabelle and I hung around the start/finish line while Emily traversed the island course. We managed to steal a shot with Olaf at Summertime Freeze as it was being used as a seat/waiting area for one family during the race.
This is the first time Emily has participated in the race since the medals were changed to these rubberized medals. A huge improvement from the previous winner medals. She finished in 30:05.
After the race, we headed to our spot for the day, a family beach cabana. I am not going to go into detail about the cabana in this post because it warrants its own post. Besides, I’d be ostracized in the Disney blogging community for not writing a SEO keyword heavy post dedicated to one of the most treat-yourself items on a Disney Cruise. I will say, I had one of the best days ever on Castaway Cay.
Emily rehydrated after the race with the drink of the day, the Stingray.
We grabbed lunch from Cookies Too BBQ and ate in the cabana, because we’d be stupid if we didn’t maximize our time in the cabana. After talking with one of our friends on the beach, I had an idea so I returned to Cookies Too BBQ with my latest concoction. I call it the Spicy Buffalo Chicken Garlic Sandwich.
After lunch we took a bike ride around the island, since that is included in the cost of the cabana.
Renting a bike is a great way to get to the observation tower.
The top of the tower provides a dramatic look at the undeveloped landscape of Gorda Cay.
With a little over an hour left before all aboard time, the clouds broke up and left us with an amazing end to an amazing day on Castaway Cay.Back aboard the Disney Magic we got ready for dinner. We were going to Palo, so we ordered Isabelle the chicken caesar salad and the grilled cheese sandwich from updated room service menu.
I’m going to cover Palo rather quickly. I ordered from the regular menu and Emily tried Palo’s new & updated wine experience. The wine experience deserves its own post to give you a better idea if it is worth the extra uncharge.
We had the same server as we had for brunch the day before, Andrew from the Philippines. He was phenomenal. He was actually very funny – Emily cannot tell people we are from Orlando, she feels the need to say our city name, so poor Andrew was sure we were from corporate. We had told him at brunch that we were definitely not corporate, but then at dinner when I ordered a la carte and Emily ordered the wine pairing, he had convinced himself that we were from corporate and were checking up on him. He also asked if we were part of the ‘blogging community.’
Palo dinner started out with the delicious antipasto plate and bread service. We highly suggest the chills flake infused olive oil drizzle to accompany the aged balsamic vinegar.
Slowly but surely, I will make my way through the Palo Specialty drinks. This evening, I ordered the Limone Basilico which was flavorful, but seemed a bit weak.
I basically ordered the new items on the menu, not because I wanted to blog about it, but because they sounded good and our server recommended them. I’ve learned to trust the servers; they know the current strengths and weaknesses with the kitchen.
For starters, I choose the Soft Potato Gnocchi tossed in Piennolo Tomato Sauce, garnished with Kale and caramelized Grape Tomatoes. This revised version seems like an attempt to appease guests who are not fans of flavor. The gnocchi was wonderful, but the sauce was nothing special. The previous version of the gnocchi was served with a delicious gorgonzola sauce.
The next dish, Butternut Agnolotti, made up for the complete disappointment of gnocchi from the test kitchen of Chef Boyardee. The pasta is stuffed with a butternut squash and topped each one has a bit of bit of amaretti cookie crumble and buffalo mozzarella. The dish if finished with sage-brown butter. This was an incredibly delicious offering.
For my main dish, I chose the Piquant Dover Sole which is filleted table side.
The fish was beautiful and once filleted, it is topped with nut-brown butter capers, anchovies and sun-dried tomatoes, all of which were cooked with the fish. The plate if finished off with spinach, carrots and thyme potatoes. Even though I am not a big fan of capers and anchovies, I felt it was a solid dish and I would definitely order this again.
For dessert, I ordered the Limoncello Tart. This was a close cousin to an incredible Key Lime Pie. Another solid addition to the menu.
Next up was the shot at the end with lemon sorbet, prosecco & apple brandy. Refreshing indeed.
It was great to see manager Felice & servers Jane & Andre that we remembered from the summer Norway/Iceland cruise. Felice is great. Our sommelier, Duncan, was on our cruise in October on the Dream, so always great to see familiar faces.
After this dinner, it confirmed how much I prefer Palo brunch. Emily was a fan of the ‘old’ Palo wine pairing, and we both prefer the Palo brunch.
I would love to hear about the new Palo wine experience. In the past we have chosen Remy over Palo, and had the wine paring, which is exquisite. However, we will be sailing on the Wonder for the first time in a few months. As Remy is not an option, we have made reservations at Palo. Any information on the new wine experience would be appreciated.
If you have not read our previous post on the original Palo Wine Experience check it out while we get the new post together.
Thanks again for sharing your experience, I will be anticipating your review on the Cabanas on Castaway Cay, I’ve wondered about those in the past but have passed because I didn’t think the cost outweighed the benefits. Looking forward to your review. Also, great update on the 5K medals, I may have to run again simply to get the new medal… 🙂 Thanks
As always Palo looks delicious!
Sadly we had a not so great experience last time when I wanted to select the wine pairing menu and my husband did not (he doesn’t drink) We practically had to beg our server to let one of us do it whilst the other just selected off the regular menu. He made such a big deal out of it and he kept saying that he would not be able to pace the meal correctly. Looks like this wasn’t a problem for you both
It did put a bit of a downer on the evening
We are not deterred though and will eat there again on our next cruise
Sounds like your server was more concerned about the overall experience for both of you rather than as individuals. I can understand the situation as I have been your husbands shoes before. I do recall our server telling us they’d pace my dishes to go with my wife’s, but never have we been told we cannot do this. It really shouldn’t matter if you two do not care. Did you bring this up with the Palo manager?
Scott, I didn’t raise it with the manager but I did mention it on the comment card. The cruise was still fab though!!
Scott – we were on the same cruise with you. I saw you having breakfast with your family but didn’t want to interrupt your family time. I really enjoy following your blog and thank you for all the great information. Your work has certainly help us make the most out of our Disney Cruise vacations.
Bob, Thanks for the kind words. It was nice of you to not want to interrupt our breakfast, but don’t let it happen again. I enjoy meeting readers on the ships and even around Walt Disney World.
My family and I were on the very same cruise and had a fantastic time in fact we are in your picture of the pre 5k meeting in Fathoms!
Scott, did you enjoy the sole? Do you know whether it was fresh or frozen?
I am but about sole – I love it so much I have to hurt myself to order anything else on a menu, BUT I am also very picky and I want it to be drag and perfect. I somehow doubt Dover sole could be fresh in Bahamas cruise…
I have a hard time believing that the fish was fresh on the 3rd night of our cruise. I do not think we picked up provisions at Castaway Cay.
Scott, have you put together your report yet on the Cabanas on Castaway Cay? Curious if you think the cost is worth the benefits. Thanks so much…
We were on the Fantasy the same week as you were on the Magic. My wife had Gnocchi and agree with you , not their best. I had the Sole also for dinner loved it.
We also try the tenderloin also very good,
Hi Scott – Are you still planning to review the Cabanas on Castaway Cay in more depth (particularly cost vs. benefit)? Have you already done so and I missed it somewhere?
Yes, a post is in the works.