Trip log, day one. Port Canaveral.
3-Night Halloween on the High Seas Bahamian Cruise from Port Canaveral
October 11, 2019
Guests Onboard: 3:45 pm
Personal Navigator – Day 1
Our captain for this cruise is Michele. As for our onboard entertainment, Jimmy Lynett is our Cruise Director. During this 3-night Bahamian Halloween on the High Seas cruise we will be visiting the ports of Nassau, and Castaway Cay.
Before we get into a trip report, I wanted to share our stateroom door magnet. For each cruise, we put together a unique graphic to adorn our stateroom. You can learn more about how I put these together in this door magnet post which includes a gallery of our previous designs. This design was inspired by an older Walt Disney World trick or treat bag design, well, that is what inspired the Mickey ghost.
We arrived at Port Canaveral in the early 11 o’clock hour, dropped our luggage off at the porter, and parked in the nearby lot. There are plenty of parking options around Port Canaveral that are extremely well priced, but I look at the onsite port parking as my splurge. For us, it is nice to park and walk across the street to the terminal and then following the cruise we are in our car and headed home. The extra cost at the port compared to offsite parking is worth it for us not to deal with the shuttle to an offsite parking lot. Just know, you have options when it comes to parking at Port Canaveral. For this 3-night cruise the onsite parking is $68, which we paid upon entry into the parking lot.
We entered the cruise terminal around 11:30 and it was less than 5-minutes to get through security. This included the time it took to pull out a corkscrew which was confiscated from our carry on bag because it had a knife blade – a corkscrew that was purchased in a Norwegian port of call which we carried on the Disney Magic, and has been in our carry on for our last 12-sailings, 8 of which have been out of Port Canaveral, the last this past June. Oh well, such is life and I’m all in for keeping everyone safe. Time will tell if we remember to claim it on Monday morning.
Boarding was already underway as we worked our way to the check-in desk. After receiving our Key to the World cards, and our Personal Navigators were walked through the giant Mickey Mouse portal towards the gangway and were onboard at 11:50 AM. They were boarding groups 1-10 at this point. Disney Cruise Line’s terminal team runs like a well oiled machine when it comes to the boarding process.
After our welcome announcement in the atrium, we made our way to Cabanas for a light lunch on the aft deck. Right as we were finishing, it began to drizzle.
Outside Cabanas and elsewhere on the ship such as the drink stations there are these great hand hygiene stations.
On our way out, we stopped in Vanelopee’s to check out the current offerings and the Cast Members were offering samples of the gelato. How does one say no to a free sample?
Here is a look at the current pool deck alcoholic beverage options.
We did some window shopping. We settled into seats near the Vista Cafe while we waited for the staterooms to open.
While we were waiting, we tried to get Isabelle’s DCL app chat setup – this requires a code from the primary guest’s chat. We encountered an issue with the app that required deleting and reinstalling for it to register that we were onboard connected to DCL-GUEST. Someone mentioned they had a similar issue and solved it by toggling they location settings.
Around 1:30, we made our way to our stateroom. To our surprise, Emily ordered the Halloween on the High Seas stateroom decor package.
Our luggage arrived at 2:00 pm and we were unpacked and ready to relax. Well, that is after a quick trip to an empty laundry room to iron clothes for dinner.
Following the muster drill, we made the climb up to deck 12 from the Walt Disney Theatre with a few hundred of our closest friends. I imagine this is what Everest looks like now.
We spotted a few open sections along the railing so we had a choice of viewing spots. Here is a placeholder Periscope of the Sailing Away Deck Party. I will upload a better copy once we get back home.
I think the Sail-A-Wave Deck Party on the Magic & Wonder is growing on me.
On our way out of Port Canaveral we had a great view of the SpaceX marine support fleet.
After the sail away party, we stopped by Flo’s quick service area on deck 11 midship for Isabelle to pick up some food for dinner. Then, we returned to our stateroom to get ready for date night in Palo. While we were in the room, we finished watching Ghostbusters which was available on demand since we were otherwise unable to attend Halloween Horror Nights at Universal tonight, the night the Killer Klowns cups debuted…
If you are in Orlando before or after a cruise and looking for some Halloween excitement, Halloween Horror Nights has been a blast. We went for the first time last year, and purchased a Frequent Fear Plus pass for this year. Even Isabelle enjoys the event and has gone with us all but two of the nights we attended this year. Let me know if you’d like to hear more about HHN, or Universal Orlando Resort. We are far from experts, but we have been spending a lot of time over at Universal this year, including their waterpark, Volcano Bay.
This is one of those cruises where we are not going to main dinning. Before anyone asks, yes, we are still tipping each member of our serving team. Keep in mind, you are still being served by them whether you know who you have or not. During the day your serving team is staffing the sit-down restaurants and Cabanas for breakfast and lunch as well as the quick service locations on the pool decks. Plus, depending on their schedule, they could be working the BBQ lunch on Castaway Cay. Bottom line, they are working hard all day long to provide you with excellent service, or as excellent service as possible considering the number of hours they are working each day in order for us to enjoy our vacation. Ok, thats the end of my mini tipping rant.
Palo, oh Palo, oh how you’ve changed in just a few short months. There was a menu change a little bit ago where a number of dishes were altered a bit, with other favorites untouched. However, the overall dinner service has changed. I need to sleep on this some more before really sharing my opinion, better yet, I think a new Palo dinner review is in order as it is different from what you may be accustomed to as a long time Palo guest. Don’t read this as a negative, we had an enjoyable evening and left full, partially because I ordered second dessert – if you consider cheese dessert.
After dinner we headed down to check out the merchandise in the shops outside the Walt Disney Theatre. We timed it just right to rendezvous with Isabelle as the second showing of The Golden Mickeys: A Timeless Tribute and late dinning was beginning. The shops are best during these times when they are EMPTY.
There are some new collections and I’ll post a full overview of the general DCL merchandise as well as the Halloween on the High Seas merchandise in their own posts. I do like the new HotHS merchandise graphics, who doesn’t love a spooky cruise ship and Mickey as a vampire?
Isabelle did find what we were told are new (within the last 2 weeks) Life Ring Minnie Ear headbands. New is relative when it comes to Disney Cruise Line; the Disney Parks Blog is posting articles calling stuff new that has been onboard all summer. Similar to Burgan’s outlet reports, these collections may or may not be available onboard in [insert your cruise countdown] when you board for your next cruise vacation.
Emily stopped by the future cruise desk to purchase a future cruise voucher since there was no line. Did you read that? Bonus tip right there, visit the future cruise booking desk on the first night or early in the voyage on longer cruises. Absolutely, try to avoid going on the final night unless you like long waits, even with a virtual queue system, you could be waiting hours. You can either tap your Key to the World card on the touch point near the desk to enter the virtual queue, or you can use the Disney Cruise Line Navigator app to enter the virtual queue from anywhere on the ship and you will get a notification when it is your turn.
If anyone shoreside is reading this, please consider allowing guests to simply purchase a placeholder via the app or on the website while onboard. Heck, let us book a future cruise via the app or website whilst onboard; its not like you are giving out onboard credit anymore. This would drastically reduce the workload for the onboard agent and shorten the waits for guests who prefer to work with the rebooking Cast Member one-on-one.
As we retired for the night, Isabelle tried a stateroom hack that was mentioned a few weeks again in a a conversation I was having on Twitter about hotel hacks. Isabelle put a glow stick in the bathroom. If you ever gotten up in the middle of the night and turned on a stateroom bathroom light and instantly become wide awake you need to do this in the future.
When I turned out the lights we were surprised by the ghosts from the Halloween on the High Seas stateroom decor package… THEY GLOW IN THE DARK!!! Not only did they glow, they remained glowing into the early hours of the morning.
Scott, great advice in booking the future cruise in day/night 1. The only drawback is that your 24 month window starts on the first day you inquire for a return cruise. When we cruised in Aug 2015, we had to wait night 5 or 6 to get a quote for the same week in 2017. I know many people may know that, but in case anyone really tries to maximize their planning and discount. Hope you continue to enjoy the cruise.
Great info Scott. Only additional advise is be careful with future cruises if you are trying to stretch out to 2 full years. They start the 24 month window the day you get your quote, not when you book. In 2015, we had to wait to get quotes til Thursday (night 6) on our 7 night cruise to stretch it out for another 7 night the same week in 2017. Hope you enjoy the rest of the cruise.
Looking forward to your “new” review of Palo. We were on the Dream in late August and noticed that something was “off”, other than the menu, but could not exactly pinpoint what it was. Not sure if it has further evolved since then…
Great bathroom nightlight hack!
how far in advance did she order the decoration package? i browsed some of the port listing but didn’t see this one listed anywhere i looked, interested if they offer something next year.
I do not know exactly when she ordered, but if I had to guess, it was less than 30-60 days before the cruise.
Hi Scott! Just wondering if you are still planning on doing a separate write up/review on your Palo dinner experience? You mentioned the dinner service had changed and I am very curious as to what is different. Thank you.