Trip log, day three. Gorda Cay.
3-Night Halloween on the High Seas Bahamian Cruise from Port Canaveral
October 15, 2017
Personal Navigator – Day 3
Our final day started early. We were all up and ready for the day well before Cabanas opened. Emily & Isabelle played Mad Libs on the verandah & enjoyed the beautiful weather while watching the sun rise.
We got dressed and made sure we had what we needed for the day on the island. Thankfully, Vista Cafe was open with some pastries and espresso to jump start the day and tide us over until Cabanas opened at 7:30.
Why were we up that early and ready to go ashore? Great question. We were all signed up for the Castaway Cay 5k which had a meeting time of 8 AM in Evolution. We rope dropped Cabanas for some fuel and then headed down to Evolution to check-in for the 5k.
Emily is no stranger to this event, but this was the first time for Isabelle and myself. DCL requires that all participants be at least 10 years old and Isabelle has been chomping at the bit for sometime now. Really, anyone under 10 can run the course, but DCL will not officially acknowledge the participation with a race bib and finisher medal.
Emily offered to stick with me, but she is in the middle of half marathon training and I didn’t want to impact her times.
The race starts at the bike rental area and proceeds to the runway, around the bike loop near the observation tower, then further down the runway to Serenity Bay tram stop. Then, you return around and take the bike loop one more time and head back to the finish line at the bike rental area.
The weather was great for the run, party cloudy with some occasional sprinkles. Emily and Isabelle didn’t have any problems and I while I did my best at the beginning, it turned into a run/power-walk for me. It wasn’t until the home stretch when I found some motivation to finish in a full run. I’m not happy with my time, but I finished and I only have room for improvement.
I think part of my problem was the course was boring, in addition to the “warm up walk” from the ship to the bike rental start line. Emily told me the original course that started on the pier was much more enjoyable and made it easier to head back to the ship to clean-up &/or eat after the run.
After the race, we changed into our swim suits, grabbed a spot and headed out to Pelican Plunge. While the slides are fairly basic, they are ton of fun and boy o boy, you can really fly down those slides. It was very refreshing after the run and this time of the year is enjoyable for us as far as water temps go.
One of Isabelle’s favorite things to do at Castaway Cay is the ropes course located in the middle of the family beach swimming lagoon in front of the snorkeling lagoon, closest to the ship.
We picked up our belongings from the spot we had & headed over. We were surprised to find so many available places in the shade to sit by this time of the morning on this stretch of beach. Isabelle tore off to the ropes course while Emily and I sat in chairs we brought down into the water. It was very relaxing & there was a nice breeze.
The lunch hour rolled around, but Isabelle was still going strong on the ropes course. When she finally decided she was ready for lunch, we headed over to nearby Cookie’s BBQ. I was happy to see the return of good garlic bread to make the indulgent spicy chicken sandwich healthier.To cap off lunch, Isabelle went with a snow cone from the hut near the 5k start line across from Summertime Freeze.
After lunch, we briefly returned to the beach until we spotted some ominous skies moving our way. We opted to pack up and head back to the ship. The rain started to come down, but gave way to a light rain allowing us to stop in She Sells Sea Shells and Everything Else to quickly browse around before jumping on an awaiting tram back to the pier. The rain was starting to pick back up, but after the beautiful Disney Dream pulled into her berth in Nassau yesterday, this was my only opportunity to get a good look at the dent on the stern and you know, snap some pictures for the ole’ scrapbook.
To DCL’s credit, they did some more repairs on Monday while in Port Canaveral and it almost looks like the dent is gone.
More repairs on the Dream today at Port Canaveral https://t.co/0ZOnIkdM4A
— Scott Sanders 🎃 (@TheDCLBlog) October 16, 2017
Returning to the ship, I stopped by to figure out why Admiral Donald looks like a chocolate Easter bunny in pictures. Upon closer inspection, the finish has been stripped.
Well, at least the majority of was stripped.
Here is a look back at the Admiral when he was shiny.
Since it was barely raining at this point, we dropped our stuff off in the room and headed up to the pool deck hoping to get in a ride on the AquaDuck, but this seemed to be the universal plan and without a FastPass option, we just spent time around the pools and soaked in the hot tub which was much needed after the morning 5k. Note: the hot tub in the Quiet Cove is actually warm vs the lukewarm family hot tub.
I’d say 30 minutes tops before the sky opened up and the rain really started to come down. At first it was just rain, but it was heavy enough to retreat back to the room to watch whatever NFL games were available. Soon after we returned to the stateroom, the rain storm turned into a full-on thunderstorm blanketing the island with rain so much so you could not see past Castaway Ray’s Stingray Adventure from the ship.
It was nice to see the stateroom ESPN and ESPN 2 tv channels were changed to CBS and FOX for the NFL games. The only issue was the broadcasts only had the stadium sounds such as the crowd and the penalty calls, & they broadcast did not include any of the commentary or dialog during the commercials. I called down to Guest Services and they said the broadcast team would look into it after I checked in 687 and heard the primary game did have normal audio playing in the pub. Needless to say, the issue in the stateroom was not resolved which led me to take a walk down to Guest Services where I was told I should just go to 687 if I wanted to listen to a game.
Isabelle fixed a dinner plate from Flo’s and enjoyed dinner in the room then headed off to the Oceaneer Lab while we got ready for dinner at Remy.
We started our evening back in Meridian with another great mystery pours from the sommelier bin.
Not only did we score some more great deals from the bin, we were treated to a rainbow.
We were then seated along the windows in Remy and as luck would have it, the weather moved out and we were presented with a great view of the evening’s sunset.
It was a bittersweet moment the night before when we went to request Stephane for our server to find out he is now the maitre d’. We’ve had Stephane on a few different occasions and this is a well deserved promotion, so we cannot be too sad about losing him as a waiter. In fact, our waiter this evening, Bevan from South Africa, was excellent! We would not hesitate to request him in the future.
Tonight’s Remy dinner experience began like all others, with the table side building of the Collette.
The Collette, is mostly Taittinger with a splash of Grand Marnier, Grey Goose VX, cassis (black currant) pearls, and a dried pineapple cube to ‘bring it life.’ There is a non-alcoholic version appropriate called Linguine, but when Emily and I are presented with an opportunity to have a drink featuring Taittinger, we are not easily swayed away. Although, the more I think about it, the more I am interested in the Linguine mocktail.
We opted to make this an evening full of bubbles by bringing a bottle of Taittinger from home. They asked at the podium if we were aware of the corkage fee of $25, and although we hadn’t used this option before, we were aware & were fine with it. My best advice is that do the math ahead of time. In our case, it was cheaper to bring our own bottle and pay the corkage fee versus buying the bottle outright in the restaurant. We started with the Collete, then we selected a sparkling water, which was the sparkling VOSS from Norway, a favorite of ours at home.
The first course, is so basic, but so unique… the fried cube of tomato soup. Basic in the sense it is just tomato soup, but unique that it is a deep fried cube that you could pick up with your hand. The outer shell simply melts away when you bite into it an release the tomato soup inside.
While it is aways suggested to place the entire cube in your mouth, I would be a tweet-able moment to bite into the cube and get covered in tomato soup. Just make sure someone at the table is rolling video when you do it.
Bread service arrived and it was suggested we wait a few minutes to allow the tomato soup cool while enjoying some bread before enjoying the cube. The baguette was excellent because it passed the sound test. Em had the multigrain, which was delightful.
Now, it was test time for our server; how would he react after he presents the menus and we ask him to pick our menu? We were both pleased when Bevan didn’t even flinch! He was up for the challenge. We like to do this for few reasons. One, it makes it easier for everyone dealing with our preferences of no shellfish (allergy, not a preference) for me and no red meat or pork for Emily. Secondly, it add to the uniqueness of the overall Remy experience. There is something special about not knowing what will be presented as your next course.
As a side note, Remy is offering a two unique offerings. The first is a Miyazaki beef, 100% purebred Japanese Wagyu from the Miyachiku co-op, upgrade 2 oz for $55 or 4 oz for $110 – no deal for doubling down, they are just doing the math for you. The second is a caviar menu to enhance the dinner. Currently, we are not jaded by the standard dinner offerings so these upgrades are of little interest.
Our first course was presented. Emily received a the aways enjoyable Ratatouille which was even better this time as it was topped with a dollop of olive oil ice cream.
I received an Amuse Bouche with fois gras foam, macadamia nuts in the salted caramel at the bottom. This was well balanced with equal parts delicious.
As we finished our course and Colette, the sommelier arrived with our bottle of Taittinger.
Soon after, our second course arrived. I was presented with the Tomate from Lallement’s Saveur side of the menu.
It was a collection of tomatoes. The two in the middle were incredible. The insides literally tasted liked a thick, seasoned pasta sauce. That was not all, a flute was also delivered. I thought it was an drink meant for another table until our server began to explain that this was tomato juice with two tomato juice ice cubes.
The chef soaks tomato overnight in a mixture that features tabasco sauce that helps separate the skin. Then, it is filtered through a napkin to create an almost clear liquid.
Emily’s course was from Hunnel’s Goût menu, the Langoustine. I don’t want to over explain, so watch this video if you are unfamiliar with Langoustine. The dish was presented with daikon, a mild winter radish, and avocado. Emily has had this before and it was presented & prepared differently, but this was amazing. She said this was her favorite dish of the evening.
While we were enjoying the Tomate and Langoustine, the most magical sound began to emanate from Remy’s back room and soon moved into the main seating area…
Troisième cours, started again with Emily receiving the Halibut with a horseradish canolie that had a nice cruted top from the Goût side of the menu. Another absolutely delicious dish. Truly incredible.
I received the Saumon wrapped in cresson AKA watercress with an amazing citrus punch in the lemon curd and the foam. I was immediately taken back to the Wonder where I couldn’t get enough Salmon while sailing Alaska.
Moving along to the fourth course Bevan presented me with the Duck with celery puree and black truffle sauce from Hunnel’s side of the menu.
I enjoyed the dish and I am not normally a fan of duck, but I’ve yet to find a dish a Remy that isn’t in my wheelhouse that I have not enjoyed. Oh, I forgot to mention earlier, I am not a big fan of just eating raw tomatoes… Thats the thing about Remy, I’ve learned be more opened minded about food and try things that are outside my comfort zone.
Emily received some more Flétan with celery root puree and these crispy wine things. Sure, it was the second consecutive Halibut dish, but it was completely different. The top of the halibut was salty which went well with the rest of the accompaniments. Another incredible dish.
It was time for the main course if you will, I received the Boeuf de Wagyu accompanied by various onions including a dusting of onion. Wow!
This is another one of those I owe it to Remy because I was always the guy who picked onions out of things avoided dishes with them… That was, until my first Remy experience where I first threw caution to the wind and enjoyed the dishes as the chef intended. While the wagyu was delicious, it was a bit tough to cut and chew. Honestly, I am not that familiar with this beef so I cannot say it was over cooked or not. Bevan did ask at the beginning if I was ok with the chef’s preferred temperature of the beef and I said sure, whatever the chef wants to do is fine in my book. Regardless, it was wonderfully seasoned and went really well with the accompanying onions.
Emily’s dinner continued the seafood trend with the Salmon with radish and coriander. Unfortunately, at this point, Emily was already getting pretty full, and only had a few bites of this, but remarked that it was indeed splendid.
While we may have just finished our main course, it was time for the main event… the chariot à fromage.
The cheese is served with honeycomb & dried figs & apricots. Normally, we welcome a sampling of each cheese, but tonight we asked Bevan to avoid the cheese that smells like armpit. Yes, we said this in Remy and he knew exactly which cheese to skip. The only thing we should’ve asked for was more honeycomb/honey.
I really need to commit the name of that cheese to memory so I can avoid it in the future. Seriously, if you offered me a free cruise, I would not be able to name you the cheese. Hence, my description of the cheese that smells like armpit.
Either there is a file on us, Bevan just knows his customers, or Bevan just guessed correctly, we were both presented with desserts that we each would have selected if we actually ordered.
Emily received the Noisette, the chocolate hazelnut dessert.
I received the Green Apple dessert. The presentation alone is enough to get you to order this dessert.
Cracking the outer shell revealed the level of detail that went into the apple with the burst of flavor hiding in the core.
This is just the beginning of the end. At Remy, the taper you off with even more sweets and tonight we both opted for double espressos so we wouldn’t fall into a food coma at the table.
We’ve talked about Remy dinner in length before and our prior opinion the dinner experience still holds up even at the new base price of $95/person.
When the bill arrived, I was a bit taken back and came close to inquiring when the price increased and shouldn’t we be grandfathered in to the previous price when we booked our dinner reservation. Good thing I didn’t… You think this would be something I would have remembered considering I wrote about the price increase last November.
After dinner, we finished packing and called it a night.
On Monday morning after getting ready for the day and packing up the rest of our belongings into our carry on bags, we headed up to Cabanas for our final breakfast on the ship. Overall, the breakfast offerings in Cabanas this cruise were lackluster and for the most part, the same everyday. Usually, I find some unique offerings each day, say for instance a ham and cheese croissant or a spicy beef breakfast wrap, but not on this cruise.
Lackluster pretty much sums up the 3-night Disney Dream experience compared to our 3-night and 9-night earlier in the year on the Disney Wonder. For the first time in a long time, I was not bummed to leave the ship on the final morning and return to our life on land. The overall 3-night Dream experience would have been enough to turn me off of DCL and possibly cruising in general if I didn’t know any better. Emily & Isabelle weren’t ‘wowed,’ but enjoyed the respite time away. Emily is happy sitting on the desk poolside in a chair or on Castaway Cay, but agreed that this was probably the most mediocre of all of our cruises.
Thanks for following along and we’ll be back again soon for our next cruise!
Hi Scott! As usual, I have enjoyed following your trip reports. Thank you so much for letting us all glimpse inside your cruises. : ) I just wanted to let you know that I was on the Wonder recently (Oct 1), and the best news I heard was that the new future ships, while larger than the Fantasy and Dream, will be held to the same number of passengers! I was so thrilled to hear this. I assumed the new larger ships would hold more passengers and I was a little concerned what this would be like to sail with so many people. But, the new ships will have more areas to help spread out the crowds, which is great. You probably were already aware of this, but since I didn’t remember reading it on your blog, (and that is where I usually get all my info), I thought I would pass it along. Now if only they will tell us the future itineraries!! Any rumors there yet? Thanks again Scott! When’s the next cruise that we can all look forward to reading the reports?
Sorry that the cruise wasn’t as good as you hoped. We’ve been on the Dream 9 times (I’m hoping we’re the record holders!) and, obviously, love it. In all those trips can’t think of a cruise that we considered sub-par.
Great job on the “5K” (I’ve always come in short of a full 5K on it)! There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with run/walking a course! I don’t run any longer (except what they make us do in the TKD dojang) as I discovered TaeKwonDo is my jam, but when I did, I figured “Hey, if run/walk is good enough for an Olympian (Jeff Galloway), it’s good enough for me.” 🙂
thanks Scott, sorry you had a rather ho-hum experience.. the Dream by far has been our most frequented ship and I must say, I’ve enjoyed every one..But if I remember correctly, you are a fan of the Classics (Wonder and the Magic) if I may, how many DCL cruises have you been on now? And of all of those, which itinerary has been your favorite?
This was #21 for us. Favorite would probably be the 11-night Norway & Iceland in 2015 followed closely by this summer’s 9-night Alaskan. To finish out a top 3, I’d say the 7-night Southern in 2014.
Hi Scott. Great report on Remy! We are always up in the air about how much extra to tip at Palo and Remy. Curious to know what you do. Thanks!
Scott, I too had the same feeling about the Dream when I sailed on her in 2017. We were on the Wonder for a 7 night in Alaska in 2016, so it is not fair to compare a 5 night on the Dream to a 7 night on the Wonder. Things we did notice, the dining room staff (which you don’t work with because your family choses no MDR) were less than exciting compared to the Dream. There were so many people all over the place, and the NEED to walk through a bar to get from Mid Ship to Aft Ship made me not want to be on that floor. Another thing I didn’t understand is why there are 5 bars on one floor in one section of the ship? Is this an Adult/Kids Party Ship? Do we need so many bars so we can get Drunk? Another thing I noticed is the All Disney All the Time “on Demand” movies were not available on the Dream. When I was on the Wonder I boasted that I watches bits of over 30 Disney movies while on a 7 night trip. On the Dream I watched 3 movies, and all of them in “theaters”. They were Cars 3 (just came out) Pirates of the Caribbean (just came out) and Enchanted on Funnel Vision. In my room I got the Disney channel from cable and that was it. if the prices for a DCL are going to go up and the service and produced received down such as they did then I’ll find another line who wants to pamper me as much as DCL did in Alaska and give them my money. I may pay more, but I’ll get more for what I pay! I don’t like saying this because I’m a Disney kid, but I just have to set my limits!
Not sure what happened on your sailing, but the various on demand offerings were available last week.
I have always enjoyed your honest blog post! You call it like it is while still maintaining a respectful and classy tone, not always the easiest thing to do. I’m a local who spends a lot of time at “the fort” and I enjoy all things Disney. My family recently cruised on the Dream 9/29/17 for the first time in many years of just saying Disney is too expensive and I have to say there were things I really liked about the Disney experience and things I missed from the Royal experience. The Disney experience is a traditional cruise experience with dinner at 5:45 and show at 8. I will say I missed the buffet being open for dinner like Royal does and if I were on a longer cruise, feel I would miss it a lot more. If I may make a suggestion, try the Freedom of the Seas and compare it with Disney. It would make a great post! As always thanks for taking us along on your trip! Keep cruising.
Thank you, Sanders family, for sharing your vacation. So much fun to read your trip logs. We have also experienced a couple of lackluster cruises with DCL over the last couple of cruises where we were not sad to get off the ship. We have started trying other lines and been wowed. Hopefully DCL will start taking notes, because there is a lot the other lines do better. Of course they do not have Mickey! Happy sailing.
I’m pretty sure that song was La Vi En Rose
was on the dream 4 day (10/23) for the 3 rd time and was also feeling much like mr. Sanders.I have been on many other cruise lines and with the exception of carnival i find the food on all disney ships to be less enjoyable than what I have had on all my other cruise experience.Each to there own but the one of the best parts of any family cruise is having dinner with the family vr;s. “putting on the ritz” at the 18 and over dining rooms. but that is just me. The most negative thing for me about the dream is it’s very high passenger count, it is just too crowded.but over all DCL offers a very good product and i would go again, my grand children will demand it . LOL
We eat dinner together every single night at home with a home cooked meal 6 nights a week. Scott & I enjoy date nights on the cruises 🙂 You are correct – to each their own.
The family of the participants of the race go down together or later with the rest of the passengers?
The family can accompany the runner off the ship.
Tks a lot Scott.