Our final full day began with a morning run for Emily on deck 4 and a very uncompetitive game of shuffleboard as we approached Castaway Cay for the second time on this voyage. I say uncompetitive because after years of playing, Isabelle and I finally read the scoring rules. Now, I fear our future games may become ultra competitive.
We had a 10 o’clock DCL Blog Group Cruise reservation for Palo Brunch. We arrived and were seated in the upper level of Palo, a new spot for us in the restaurant, and a nice option for a group instead of individual tables along the windows. The menu appeared to be the same except for the drink prices, which increased across the board.
Palo buffet selections.
Emily considered ordering a Bloody Mary based on the drink’s popularity at brunches, but after talking it over with our server she decided it didn’t seem all that special compared to some of the more creative versions such as the customizable version available during brunch at the California Grill. Instead she opted to go with the other cocktail listed on the brunch menu because it sounded bloggable. Truth be told, she doesn’t like Bloody Marys, so here we are.
Unbeknownst to Emily, the Disney Parks Blog just posted a video of the Balsamic Grande to help everyone make it at home. To me, this was a perfect opportunity to see if it lives up to the hype as the perfect drink to impress your friends with during a summer gathering. Honestly, it was flavorful, and well balanced. Well, until the end when the balsamic took charge. Unlike the video presented by Disney, the cocktail was not double strained, which for or taste was preferred as it added the extra layer of pulp from the muddled strawberries.
After our last brunch at Palo on the Fantasy when we offered a Grape & Gorgonzola pizza, I decided it was time to try to make it at home. I made a variation with a balsamic instead of port wine reduction because I didn’t want to make the reduction and I had a bottle of balsamic that we drizzle on parmesan cheese. I thought it would be great to compare what I’ve been making at home and we thought it would be great to order one to share our favorite Palo pizza with the table.
Well… Err.. Um.. You know what they say, ask and you shall receive. We literally received what we ordered. A cheese pizza with grapes and gorgonzola added. Look at the differences between the two pictures. So very different.
This is a sure fire way to keep us from ordering the Grape & Gorgonzola pizza in the future. Congratulations Palo You’ve Ruined Grape & Gorgonzola Pizza.
The Palo Brunch offerings from the buffet, entrees, and desserts have remained relatively unchanged over the years and today was no different.
The dessert spread at Palo Brunch.
While the rest of the brunch offerings have held course, there have been a few surprise desserts offered on occasion. Currently, Palo is offering a chocolate lava cake that is fantastic. It could use a scoop of gelato, or a dollop of fresh cream from the buffet to accent the dish, but overall it was a hit at our table.
I still pine for the Peach Almond Soufflé’…
At the end of brunch, we had fun taking some group photos with our servers. Although, Salvatore’s face looked like he didn’t seem to appreciate his servers joining in our photos, we sure appreciated and welcomed them in like family, especially my brother with the same haircut.
What does one do on their second stop at Castaway Cay during a cruise after a filling Palo Brunch? Simple; head ashore and snorkel off the food. Arriving on the island around the lunch hour proved to be a great time to snorkel as most people were using this time to have their BBQ lunch at Cookies. Visibility was great today, and the snorkeling lagoon was rather empty allowing us to see all the great underwater sights. We even spotted a stingray near the 20,000 Leagues Nautilus.
While out snorkeling, we noticed something completely new and extremely beneficial, not to mention overdue. Disney added a snorkeling rest area of sorts to provide guests a break from swimming. Once off the beach, there are no opportunities for snorkelers to stand in the snorkeling lagoon in the event they need to rest or adjust there equipment. At times, depending on the wind and the current, it can be a bit of a workout.
If you are interested in learning more about the Snorkeling Lagoon at Castaway Cay, check out our previous post where we share some tips and even a helpful map on where the various underwater items are located.
There is only so much to see in the snorkeling area, so we headed over to the family beach where Isabelle had a quick snack on an abandoned float before heading out to the ropes course.
This little fella took refuge under Emily’s beach chair from a couple of boys who were attempting to capture the fish.
After some time on the beach, we headed back to the Dream. We were welcomed on the pier with ice cold fruit infused water served in Very MerryTime cups, it was almost like Christmas in July, just in June.
Couldn’t help stopping by the Castaway Cay photo op while wearing a Gorda Cay t-shirt which you can purchase over on our TeePublic shop. Wow, that was on overly shameless plug.
Back on board we cleaned up and it was time, it was time to put on the Forky tie and head to our group reception with Donald in the Outlook lounge.
Before anyone asks, yes, I made the Forky tie.
On our way to dinner in Enchanted Garden, we browsed the Vista Gallery which is along the wall between the Midship Detective Agency kiosk and the entrance to the restaurant. One of these days, we are going to go home with the ship name buckets, as Emily is always admiring that particular artwork.
Our final dinner featured some favorites, and it felt like the prefect evening to order a Mickey Bar for dessert. Also, I’m loving all the new restaurant specific table number markers.
After dinner, Captain Minnie was out meeting guests in the atrium. I did inquire as to when she would be meeting wearing her signature pants, but I was told she only wears skirts onboard. Basically, for now, those pants were just a PR stunt.
Ok, time for 2000s trivia with #TonyFromSpain in 687. Our trivia group of 4 max continues to grow each night and yet, we still haven’t complied the brain trust to pull off a perfect score. However, tonight we were close with 38/40.
After trivia, I found myself back in Tiffany & Co shopping for cufflinks… We recently joked that we never saw anyone in the location on the Fantasy, let along buying anything. However, each and ever time we walked by or stopped in there were people browsing and Tiffany blue bags walking out the door. I never thought I’d make one purchase at Tiffany & Co in my lifetime, let alone almost two during one cruise. Isabelle has her eye on the mini double heart necklaces; boy, are we in trouble……
We returned to the stateroom to pack up and get our suitcases out in the hallway. I almost forgot I had set up a GoPro for a time-lapse of our day at Castaway Cay. I tried this the other day, but I messed up and never actually started the time-lapse recording. Today, it worked perfectly, and I have 9744 images to compile into what I’ve already titled, a Perfect Day at Castaway Cay.
Once we were all packed up and settled in for the night, we started to feel a lot of vibrations. Isabelle peaked out the window from her bunk and saw land. At first, I thought we may be stopping somewhere for a medical evacuation and the vibrations were a result of the ship maneuvering into a berth or holding a position. However, it was just a result of us approaching the Straits of Florida. Since I was now out on our verandah, and Freeport could be spotted in the background, I figured it was time to revisit an old favorite shot I originally created on the Fantasy.
Trip log, day five. Debarkation day at Port Canaveral.
4-Night Bahamian Cruise from Port Canaveral
June 23, 2019
All good things must come to an end, and the inaugural DCL Blog Group Cruise was back on dry land. We were not in a hurry today and decided to hang out a little longer in Cabanas this morning talking which resulted in getting caught in the outflow of the second breakfast seating. When you time it right, it can just be a few minutes from the atrium to our car, but today, it took at least 30-40 minutes to debark, pickup our luggage, clear customs, and drive off.
We were not kidding when we said that our family’s traditional first post-cruise meal is at Tijuana Flats.
I’d like to thank everyone that joined on this adventure and the team at Storybook Destinations for all their hard work organizing this voyage. IT was truly a fun & memorable time. For anyone interested, we have a second DCL Blog Group Cruise aboard the Magic in early 2020.
As for trip reports, I hope you are not tired of reading them because we will returning to the last frontier aboard the Wonder in just a couple of weeks!