Trip log, day seven. Castaway Cay.
7-Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise from Port Canaveral
June 24, 2016
Day 7 – Personal Navigator
Today, Emily decided to head up to the gym at 7am. The crowds have not died down on this voyage. When she was finished around 8am, she sent me a message via the DCL app that she was heading into Cabanas for oatmeal. The app worked well, except that I did not have my phone and therefore didn’t receive her message. We must have just missed each other.
She told me that she chuckled when she got back to the stateroom and saw my phone on the desk (with the notifications there). Isabelle and I ate our breakfast while Emily showered, so the timing worked out well anyway.
The Fantasy arrives at Castaway Cay later than the other ships, so we had some time to kill before we could head ashore. We went to our favorite place, the deck 4 lounge chairs to relax and wait.
I was doing a great job managing my 1GB data plan so I decided to start Periscope-ing. I later discovered the WiFi signal on the island today, so this was the only one for the day.
LIVE on #Periscope: Relaxing on deck 4 of the Fantasy at #CastawayCay https://t.co/kImIvtOztk
— Scott Sanders 🎃 (@TheDCLBlog) June 24, 2016
So nice and peaceful. Isabelle noticed people other than cast members disembarking the ship, so we headed down to disembark. We walked out ahead of the Castaway Cay 5K runners, so we were pretty ahead of the crowds.
Mount (No Longer) Rustmore is looking very pristine.
On our walk to the beach, I couldn’t help but notice the bar menu having at the Conched Out Bar. It was looking bad last October with some spray paint over the prices so I figured they’d have a new sign by now… DCL must be hurting for money since (oh wait, they are not; instead they are setting records) the sign is now full on MS Painted. In all seriousness, this sign is not themed or faux weathered, it is sloppy and not what I expect from Disney.
We decided to try out a new spot on the family beach, as Isabelle has come to enjoy the climbing structure that is for children 14 years and under. It has monkey bars, a rope, and a cargo net that the kids can try to get all the way across.
They can also jump off of the platform there. Similar to Pelican Plunge, you swim out to the area, so it is deep enough so that when the kids ‘fall,’ they will do so safely. Emily pulled up a chair to the waters edge while I went out to snorkel before it got busy. We enjoy getting a head start on things before they get busy. And, after so many cruises on the Disney Magic, we were definitely feeling the increased amount of passengers that come along with the Dream class ships, especially on a summer cruise.
I really love getting into the snorkeling as early as possible to avoid the crowds (get kicked by a few fins and you’ll know what I mean.) I was making my way around the snorkeling lagoon when I saw a ray swimming around. To date, this was the most exciting sea creature I’ve seen while snorkeling at Castaway Cay. Then, a little later near the Minnie Mouse statue I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. Upon further investigation, I discovered a green moray (eel) in one of the pots near Minnie. I am still not sure, but this green moray may top the time a sea turtle joined me in St John.
While I was snorkeling, Isabelle asked Emily if she could check into Scuttle’s Cove to do the Whale Dig which was at 11am. Emily walked her down there and Isabelle said she’d meet us back at our spot for lunch around noon. Emily & I hung out in chairs at the waters edge and she enjoyed the Drink of the Day, the Stingray.
The tide was coming in and the water was awesome at 84 degrees. It was a truly beautiful day at Castaway Cay. In fact, the bar server told us this was the nicest visit it had been in 5-6 of the last voyages on the Fantasy.
We packed up our two bags and started to walk towards Scuttle’s Cove and Isabelle was on her way towards us! Perfect timing! She said she dipped out as they were lining the kids up for lunch. We went to Cookies BBQ and found it to be mostly empty. Isabelle & Emily enjoy the flavorful cajun mahi-mahi served there. I must admit, the food quality of Cookies has improved, which I am glad to say.
My new favorite DIY concoction is the Garlic & Mozzarella Flatbread Spicy Chicken Sandwich.
After an enjoyable lunch, we headed down to Pelican Plunge. Earlier in the week, I saw that people were posting that Pelican Plunge was down for refurbishment. While this was the case, it has since reopened. This part of the family beach was mayhem, I mean, it was packed. There was a line for the water slides, but it moved quickly.
Below is a video of Pelican Plunge recorded in October of 2013.
We each rode the two different slides one time each, then we swam around for a bit until the girls decided it would be a great time to rent a paddleboat.
Down the beach we went to the boat rental area. Emily & Isabelle had done an aquatrike in the past, but that was it. Emily went over and got rented the 4-person paddleboat and we were on our way. I was not a fan, but the girls enjoyed themselves. Emily & I peddled and let’s just say I do not like paying to exercise.
It was now 2:30pm and Isabelle was ready to go back to the ship and enjoy the hot tub. We dropped our stuff off in our room and headed up. Emily & I decided to stop up to Satellite Falls, which was off, but we still took a quick dip. Down we went to the Quiet Cove and enjoyed a brief relax in the hot tub. We headed back to check on Isabelle and the 3:30pm movie was just starting – it was the Muppets! We didn’t stay too long, as Emily suggested we go back and pack before dinner. This is my least favorite part of the cruise, but a necessary one. It actually didn’t take too long, and we finished showering, getting ready, and packing before dinner while watching a bit more of Pete’s Dragon. I did skip out record audio of the horns as we left Castaway Cay which we shared on our vacation bonus episode of the podcast last week.
Our final dinner of the cruise was back in Enchanted Garden for the Sea Ya Real Soon menu. Emily stared with the Tomato Caprese and I went with the Grilled Potato and Goat Cheese Napoleon.
Emily tried the vegetarian option for her main course, the Wild Mushroom and Sweet Onion Strudel.
I went with the Blackened Chicken Salad, one of the options from the lighter note offerings.
Isabelle capped off her seafood cruise with the Trenette Pasta which featured buttered shrimp.
I am a sucker for the Celebration Cake. If it is served on our cruise, I can never pass it up.
Emily went with the Baked Alaska.
Isabelle chose the Cappuccino Mouse from the no sugar added portion of the dessert menu.
After dinner, Isabelle went to the Oceaneer Lab while we filled out the guest comment card.
Once Isabelle returned to the stateroom, we put the last few items in our suitcases and placed them outside the room. Just remember which color/character bag tag you were given to place on your bag for the morning. Soon after, we called it a night. I did stay up a bit to try and make use of my remaining Connect@Sea data plan, but I’ve gotten really good at managing my usage.
Trip log, day eight. Port Canaveral.
7-Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise from Port Canaveral
June 25, 2016
Saturday morning, we were back in Port Canaveral for debarkation day. Since we had main dinner during the cruise our Sea Ya Real Soon breakfast was scheduled for 6:45 AM in Enchanted Garden…. We were in the position of not needing to hurry to the airport or our next destination since we drove to the port, so there was no need to wake up early & pack our remaining bags that we would carry off and head down to breakfast. Instead, we took or time and headed up to Cabanas for breakfast, which we always do.
At breakfast, I turned changed the settings back on my iPhone and started to update apps. It was not long until I exhausted my data package.
Following breakfast, we had one last order of business… Pick up our onboard alcohol purchases in the atrium. When you purchase duty free alcohol on board, you are given a receipt and told when and where to pick it up on the final morning. This was our first time encountering this as our previous purchases were delivered to our staterooms on the final night of the cruise. Additionally, this is where you would pick up any alcohol purchased in port that was collected upon returning to the ship. When we arrived, there was no line and our two bags were brought out… The other thing we noticed is DCL is not using the nice cardboard carrying boxes. The bottles are now wrapped in bubble wrap and placed in shopping bags. Again, I apologize, we have not made an onboard alcohol purchase in quite some time so these boxes may have been discontinued a while ago and we just never realized it.
It was now time to leave the Disney Fantasy and collect our luggage. PSA: when leaving the ship you NEED YOUR KEY TO THE WORLD CARD TO CHECK OFF THE SHIP. You do not need your passports or whatever official documents you are using until you collect your luggage and get in line to go through customs.
Remember those luggage tags you placed on your bags before placing them in the hallway? Look for signs with the same character to narrow your search for your luggage. If you forget, just ask and you will be guided to the correct area as it is based on your stateroom location.
Once we had our suitcases, we got in the line to go through customs. This is the time to make sure you have your travel documents out such as your passport and your COMPLETED customs declaration form to present to the US Customs & Border Protection agent.
The line can look like the Frozen Ever After standby line, but it moves much more like the line at the PeopleMover. It took less than 30 minutes to leave the ship, get our luggage, go through the line and get to our car in parking lot, thus concluding our trip.
Overall, we had a great cruise. The weather was great, water was warm, and we enjoyed all ports and sea days. We hope that you have enjoyed reading along and will be recording a podcast about the cruise soon! Thanks for reading!
I Love reading your trip reports and listening to the podcast, my mom twin sister and I are going on our third Disney Cruise on the Wonder from Vancouver to San Diego (we live in San Diego so we have only done the cruise from here on the Wonder). We are so excited because this will be our first time out of the country (we don’t count our port stop in Ensenada because we did not get off the ship) and coming in a day before the cruise. Reading your post makes me so excited for our cruise in less than two months.
My partner and I did the exact same cruise last year, it’s great, we even saw orcas while docked in Victoria. Pro tip: do your own reservation at the empress hotel for tea using OpenTable and do it as soon as you can. We had a 12:30 seating and it was perfect. It was also sold out for that day. You won’t be rushed like on the excursion if you do your own. We didn’t do any of the port adventures, just tea and some shopping.
Loved the eel. Possibly the best snorkeling video I’ve seen at Castaway Cay. Loved the scream/shouts of excitement coming through the snorkel tube.
When you purchase alcohol on board do you have to wait to get it until the end of the cruise? And alcohol purchased at port, I assume you can take it directly with you right?
They collect it from you when you reboard the ship and pass through the security screening. You will be reunited with it when disembarking on the last day. You get one chance to bring alcohol from outside to your cabin and that’s on embarkation day. I think it’s two bottles of wine or six pack per adult No hard liquor anymore.
Tom, At any port of call you are permitted to board the ship with a six pack or two bottles of wine. It is not limited to embarkation day.
I obviously did not know that, thanks for the clarification. The Caribbean’s not known for it’s wines but some local brews from the various ports might be nice treat while relaxing on the verandah enjoying the sail away!
No, duty free alcohol purchase onboard has always been held til the end of the cruise. The recent change being you pick it up as you are leaving the ship, previously it was delivered to your stateroom on the final night. Before the alcohol policy change, you could take liquor purchased in port to your stateroom. Now, it is collected when you board the ship to be collected at debarkation.
What a wonderful Cruise report! Thank you so much for sharing!
A quick question, we’ve never seen the climbing platform in your pictures (only Pelican Plunge) .. Where at Castaway is that platform? I can’t find it on the map.
It is located in the main swimming area of the family beach near the snorkeling lagoon.
Is it in the same snorkelling area as Mickey or a different area. I am a little confused.
Your cruise reviews are awesome Scott, especially how you release them daily. It feels like we’re sailing along with you. Overall, how would you rate the cruise out of 10?
Thanks for reading along. I am not sure about the rating.
I’ve tried twice to find Minnie….I alays find Mickey…Any clues where she is???
Minnie is located closer to shore compared to Mickey. I am working on a snorkeling post to help narrow the search.
Loved reading your trip report Scott. I truly appreciate the amount of work you put in to this blog and of course the podcast (which I love!)
Looking forward to reading about your next cruise 🙂
Linda, Thanks for following along.
Scott, your trip reports are so awesome. Thank you for taking the time to share them with us!! (Love the podcasts too.)
Eel footage was fantastic! Why no cabana this time? I recall you really enjoyed it on the last cruise. We’re always on the fence. I had one booked on our last cruise and cancelled due to cost. Just can’t stomach it. Lovely report!
JP, We booked last minute and there were none available. Additionally, the Fantasy arrives to Castaway later and we knew we be spending a lot of time in the water. Thus, we would not be using the cabana enough to warrant the hefty price. Basically, why pay for it when you will not be using it.
Hi Scott! Thank again for the trip report and the periscope! pls check the link for navigator
Thanks for reading! The navigator is linked and the full navigator post will be online later today.
Scott, Thank you for letting us tag along on your vacation. I loved the pictures of the food, and your honest reviews of everything. I laughed out loud when I saw that bar sign at Castaway Cay, it is very unDisney. I’m sure it will be changed the next time you make it to Castaway Cay! When are you going to take us along to Alaska? Thanks again, love your blog!
Alaska is planned for next summer.
I wasn’t aware Cabanas was open on the last morning. I thought you were basically forced to go back to your rotational dining assignment from the last night of the cruise.
That’s good to know, for sure.
Chad, I cannot tell you the last time we went to the sit down breakfast.
Scott – we were on the same cruise last month. It was fun to relive our cruise through your daily reports. We tried to get a Cabana based on your previous report but non were available. Thanks for a detailed delightful report that brought back many wonderful memories from last month. Your writing is concise and your pictures description. Thanks.
Thank you for the trip report. It makes me excited for my upcoming cruise in about 100 days!! Can you talk about what kind of kids activities are available while at Castaway. What is the Dinosaur Dig? Is there a playground at all for smaller kids? Thanks again