Port Adventures for our Disney Cruise

Part 2 of our Disney Cruise experience is…Port adventures! The list of activities you can do at each port is long! There is really something for everyone whether you have kids with you or not. You can also choose to book an activity not through the cruise line, or not even get off the ship at a specific port.

For this Cruise we stopped at 4 ports. Mexico, Grand Cayman, Jamaica, and Castaway Cay (pronounced Castaway Key).

Mexico

kid photography at its finest!

This was our first stop. We did not do a port adventure here. We just got off the ship and right next to the port there was a mall so we walked around and then ventured out a little so the kids could see some of Mexico. The mall was filled with the normal touristy shops with Mexico T-shirt’s and stuff, but there are also a bunch of hand made shops.

I have to say these shop owners are intense! They are on you and follow you trying to get you to buy their stuff! It made me very uncomfortable, so needless to say we didn’t stay off the ship for long.

Other people that actually did adventures in Mexico said it was great!

Grand Cayman

For our next stop we decided to do a beach day. We didn’t plan anything ahead of time, we just got off the ship and grabbed a taxi to the beach, rented some beach chairs, and relaxed. Cash built sand castles and enjoyed Alice enjoyed the super clear beautiful water!

it was overcast all day, but still pretty views

This beach was fun for Alice and Cash since their only experience on a beach has been a couple of times in Florida with seaweed filled water and rough sand. They were amazed with the super soft sand and clear water!……until it started raining! We got a decent amount of time at the beach before the rain so we just packed up and headed back to the ship!

Jamaica

This is one of those places that I have always wanted to go!  I really don’t know why, I just have. Falmouth Jamaica is the most beautiful place I have ever been! I would love to go back to explore more of the island!

This was our one big port adventure we planned ahead of time (well, Jesse did!). We took a shuttle to our first stop at Dolphin Cove. We spent the morning here, they have a little “zoo” with bunnies you can hold, a giant lizard, and birds you can feed! The kids LOVED it!

*total side note that I feel like you all need to know….I HATE BIRDS!!! lol! The kids wanted to go in to feed the birds so I was like “ok, I’ll go in and take pictures”. Guys, when I walked in one of the workers put bird food on my back!!!!  All of these birds start landing all over me! I was freaking out! meanwhile, the kids are just feeding birds, not concerned with me!!

Obviously I declined this photo opportunity!

After that traumatic event we had to get ready for our dolphin encounter!

This was so fun! We got to kiss the dolphin, dance, and hold him…..and they wouldn’t let me take pictures! They have their own photographer and they want you to buy them….for $200, so needless to say, we have our memories of the dolphin encounter, and not pictures!

We had a little extra time to swim before our next stop.

The hot tub that wasn’t actually hot

Then we went back on the shuttle to head to Dunns River Falls! This was the coolest thing we have ever done with the kids! I highly recommend it. We had a guide that took us up the falls with a big group.

this was right before we saw how big the waterfall was.

I will say that standing at the bottom of this massive waterfall my thoughts were that we made a mistake booking this…and there is no way Alice is going to do this! Those were pretty much her words when she looked at me too!

But, we were there and we were going to conquer it! We gave a little “you can do it!” pep talk….and little motivation in the form of a bribe!

We told them we could get a huge ice cream when we got back on the ship if they made it all the way up!

Once we started climbing everyone started to be more confident.. soon, cash said “I can do it myself! I don’t need your hand!” The waterfall wasn’t just a straight up climb. Well, some parts were, but there were places we stopped for pictures, to enjoy the water, and push each other in!

I do not think Cash has ever been happier than when our guide said “push dad in!”

The entire climb took us about an hour, and we made it! I think Alice and Cash gained so much confidence from the experience and it was a whole lot of fun! I definitely want to do it again!

That was the end of our day in Jamaica so we headed back to the ship!

Once back on the ship, this was their promised reward! This was HUGE! it had 6 scoops of ice cream, 5 toppings, whipped cream, and a cherry! We all shared it, and it was plenty!

Castaway Cay

The last port for this cruise is Disney’s private island! I love this place! It is great for many reasons!

Since it is a private island it isn’t very busy. Your lunch is included at the restaurants on the island, and it’s so good! There is an adults only beach (we went there on our last cruise) and huge family beach ! They have so many activities… snorkeling, tube rentals, bike riding (those are an extra charge, but super reasonable) water slides, character meets, dance parties, and a kids club that you can check the kids into for activities.

We all had so much fun here! We played at the beach, ate yummy food, and we (Jesse and I) even got to ride the huge water slides while the kids were playing in the kids club!

 

Well, that’s all for our port adventures on this cruise! (hopefully we will go on many more adventures!) I think that is why a cruise is so awesome, you could go on the same cruise again and do different port adventures for a completely different vacation!

If you have any questions about our adventures or planning your own cruise, leave them in the comments!

And if you missed part 1 of our cruise you can find it here!

Our First Family Halloween Disney Cruise!

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Our First Family Halloween Disney Cruise!

Hello friends!

So, a couple of weeks ago we took the kids on their first Disney Cruise! Jesse and I went on our first one earlier this year and you can read about that here. This time we decided on the Halloween on the High Seas 7 night Caribbean cruise! There are so many different options when going on a cruise from port stops to themes (Halloween, Christmas, Marvel day, Star Wars day). For our first family cruise experience we weren’t really concerned about specific ports, but Alice and Cash really wanted to do a Halloween themed one!

The Disney military rates are awesome, but you have to be ready to go on short notice, and they don’t have them on every cruise. This time we only had 1 specific week that would work with our schedules, so we booked through Costco Travel. We got a small discount and a Costco cash card.

We sailed on the Disney Fantasy ship this time and had a total of 3 full days at sea and we stopped at 4 ports. So, I’m going to be splitting this into two different posts because I have so much info to share with you! This is all about our days at sea! (my next one will be all about our port adventures!) .

Halloween on the High Seas

So, lets just start with the ship!  When you first walk on to the ship the first thing you see is the huge pumpkin tree in the lobby! (they have a little show the first night to “light” the tree,  it is super cute!).  The windows are decorated like jack-o-lanterns, and the Mickey heads have been turned into pumpkin Mickeys!

Then on to our room! we decided to go with an inside room. Disney doesn’t want anyone to feel like they have an inside room, so we have a port hole that shows a live feed as if you were on the outside of the ship….and Characters came to visit us in the port hole. Alice and Cash LOVED it! (and the inside rooms are cheaper…BONUS!!) The rooms are small, but i feel like they are not as small as people expect. We had our bed and then the couch pulled out to a bed and the bunk bed comes from the ceiling. Our awesome hostess gets all the beds ready every night and then puts them all away every morning so you have more room to move around.

One thing that we didn’t know about on our first cruise was decorating our door! Its so fun to walk down the halls and see every ones decorations. This time we had to participate!

*side note…every single person that was working on the ship was absolutely amazing. It really feels genuine that they want you to have an amazing vacation. They are always making sure you know whats going on, giving you tips on the best places to sit to see the fireworks, making sure you have anything you need! Everyone was great, but Caila (our hostess) took the best care of us and our room….she also made us the most awesome towel animals every day!

 

 

On SHIP ACTIVITIES

Since I’m starting with ship activities I have to share where we went the very first morning on the ship…Alice and Cash got to go to a part of the ship that most people don’t see…..the Health Center…aka the hospital! Leaving our room Cash’s finger got smashed in the extremely heave room door! all I was really looking for was a band-aid, but they are very thorough, they checked it out to make sure it wasn’t broken, cleaned it, gave me band-aids and ice packs… and a popsicle!  Then we had a few follow up calls to our room to check if he was ok! Luckily, that was our only incident and the rest of the trip was “smooth sailing!”

 

The kids club

Kids club on the ship is available for ALL ages, and it is incredible! I was impressed with how organized and safe the are was (I don’t know why I was surprised, i would expect nothing less from Disney!) Each child is issued a wristband at the beginning of the cruise and that is how they go in and out of the kids area. They can not be checked out by anyone but a parent and that parent must know a “secret word” to sign them out! They also communicate through the Disney Cruise Line app if your child wants to be picked up, or if there is a problem.

 

There are so many activities in the club that you couldn’t possible do all of them! They have general play…coloring, crafts, movies, tablets, a star wars area, a pixie hollow section, etc. But they had the most fun at the scheduled activities. they have cooking classes, science experiments, scavenger hunts, character meets, crafts, and games.  I feel like they could talk forever about all of the fun things they did! Alice and Cash didn’t spend a ton of time just playing in the kids club (they wanted to be in the pool! Lol) but they both definitely wanted to be in there for specific activities. So each day we looked at the schedule for the day for them to pick out which ones they didn’t want to miss!

Their favorites were  Pluto’s pajama party, Alice did a Doc McStuffins pet vet activity where she met Doc, and Cash loved playing GAGA ball! (which I still don’t really understand how to play! LOL)

Family Activities

 

Now, outside of the kids club… to the “family ” activities… there are movies in the movie theater (usually the most current Disney movies. there was Incredibles 2, Ant man and the wasp, and Christopher Robin). Movies playing all day long on the big screen by the pools (these are usually kids movies, until night time and they switch to more adult ones).  Then, there are the Broadway style shows! This time we saw Aladdin! I was so excited for this one since the movie is one of my favorites! It definitely did not disappoint! we all loved it! We also saw the “Believe” and “Wishes” shows that were great too! Obviously, we needed popcorn and souvenir mugs to have the full experience!

Yep, that is filled with popcorn!

Next are the outdoor activities! They have a basketball court and mini golf on the top deck of the ship. Two pools in the family area that are very kid friendly. one is a shallow pool and the other is about 5 feet deep. a water slide for kids, a splash pad for little ones, and another splash pad for older kids!

Alice spent a lot of her time in the splash pad! “finding Nemo” themed, obviously!

 

Then, the BEST part is the AQUADUCK! this is so fun and i think Alice rode it about 15 times! (Jesse and I also rode it while the kiddos were in the kids club!) “What is the AQUADUCK?” you might ask….A huge water slide that you ride in a 2 person tube and goes around the whole outdoor pool area….and it lights up at night!!

Jesse and Alice on the AQUADUCK

Special Events

Since this cruise is Halloween there are themed activities! Although, the whole ship is decorated for Halloween the entire time, there is a specific Halloween day on the cruise that has trick or treating around the ship, which was a lot more chaotic than I thought it would be!

I’m not sure what I really expected with that many people, but it was still fun! The Characters are all dressed in their Halloween costumes, which is a fun photo opportunity too! They also have Halloween crafts and a party in the kids club area, and then a family Halloween party too!

 

Besides the Halloween activities we also had Pirate Night which I love!!!! So many people (including the characters) dress up it their pirate costumes! there is a Pirate dance party and a “pirate show” on the pool deck complete with fireworks!

Alice was living her best life with ALL of the dance parties!

Then when you think it cant get any better you have the late night Pirate buffet! So much yummy food!

Alice and Cash tried crepes for the first time!

 

HUNGRY?

Speaking of food, lets talk about ALL OF THE FOOD! I could probably do an entire post about all of the food, because it is so good! Breakfast was available at a restaurant each morning, or Cabanas for the relaxed buffet style breakfast! (Give me all of the Mickey Waffles!!!)

Lunch was at Cabanas or by the pool there are quick service dining with pizza, hot dogs, burgers, salads, chicken strips.

Each night of the cruise you rotate between the restaurants for dinner (the kids can also eat in the kids club too!) and your servers follow you to each one!

We had some awesome servers, they had games and puzzles for us and made Alice and Cash some fun origami things to keep them busy. Of course the food was amazing, we even tried some things we would never try…like Ox tail soup! (it tasted like beef stew, if you were wondering)

but obviously our favorite part was the dessert every night!

ANNNDDD…. the unlimited Ice cream cones. I couldn’t even keep track of all of the ice cream cones we ate.

Then, if you are not completely stuffed by the time you get to your room at night, there is ROOM SERVICE!! Alice and Cash thought it was the coolest thing to order room service! and did I mention its free? ( we did tip though!) Yummy Mickey Ice cream bars and cookies delivered to our room! we definitely did that more than once! …. and now I’m dreaming of the warm chocolate chip cookies!……

So, I think that pretty much covers all of the on ship info I have! If you have any questions about a Disney Cruise, leave a comment and I’d be happy to answer!

Stay tuned to hear about all of our Port Adventures!!!

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Disney cruise with out kids?

When I tell people that Jesse and I went on a Disney cruise without our kids people are usually surprised. (unless they know our love of disney, and then it isn’t a surprise at all!)  We decided to go with Disney for a couple of reasons, one was that we had been told that they are the best(by other friends that had some cruising experience), and second was….we LOVE Disney everything! Since we were planning on doing a cruise with the kids, and since it is so expensive we wanted to do a small one  just us so we could judge what kind of cruise we would do with them!

This cruise was 4 nights and went to the Bahamas, stopping at Atlantis and Castaway Cay (the Disney island) I have to say that I was shocked at how many people were there WITH NO KIDS! One couple we sat with at dinners was there celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary, they said they had been on a few other cruise lines when they were first married and nothing compared to Disney, so they have been doing Disney cruises for almost 20 years! (this was just their opinion, we obviously have nothing to compare it to, so we are just taking their word for it)  I wanted toour experience with Disney, and not having anything to compare it to. So, here are the reasons I think you should do a Disney Cruise with out kids!

AMAZING FOOD!

I dont know about you, but I get hangry. So, this is why the first thing on my list is FOOD! Being surrounded by amazing food all day every day, sign me up for that!

On the ship there are 4 standard restaurants that you rotate through each night for dinner. there are also 2 fancy restaurants (we are not eat fancy food kind of people) and an awesome buffet every day. Disney wants every aspect of your vacation to be out of this world, and it definitely shows through the food! Each of the restaurants have their own theme and had the most amazing food, now im not talking burgers and fries (although if that’s what you want the buffet is where to go!), im talking the most delicious steak, chicken, and seafood! ( and what is awesome is if you liked something specific from one restaurant, no problem, they will make it special for you at the restaurant you are at that night!)  the main courses were great, but i will tell you the desserts……

SO GOOD!!!!!

you want 4 desserts? no problem….you want a mickey ice cream bar? sure thing! anything you could possibly want, they will get for you! Then there is also room service!!

Just in case you haven’t had enough food there is unlimited ice cream cones on the pool deck!

PLANNED ACTIVITIES

ON THE SHIP

I honestly do not like to plan vacations, I hate doing the research. Jesse usually plans them. Which is also why i loved this vacation. There are so many activities planned for your days at sea that you couldn’t possibly do them all! They have everything from a movie theater, to live musicals, cooking classes, spa treatments, trivia, drawing classes, and towel folding classes! which we most definitely did!

Check out that dinosaur!

They have a schedule printed out in your room every day so you can decide what you want to do at what time! Depending on what kind of cruise you go on, they have special events like Pirate night (which is the one we did) with themed food, shows, fireworks, and the characters are also dressed for the occasion.

How cute is Pirate Mickey??

They have others like Star Wars Day, christmas, halloween, and avengers which all include their own special activities.

EXCURSIONS

You definitely do not have to do an excursion through the cruise line, but I think it is a lot easier that way, again no research and planning to do on my part. Each day at a new port all of your tickets for your activities are in your room for you!

We stopped at two ports on our 4 day cruise. Each one has many different options. We did the water park excursion at Atlantis and that was so much fun! I wish we had more time there because the lines were pretty long. There were 2 other cruise ships there and then the people staying at Atlantis. Then we went to Castaway Cay.

This was my favorite, since it is the private disney island it wasn’t very crowded. We snorkeled (because Disney is awesome they made a bunch of “ruins” for you to find under the water like Mickey and Minnie) we went on a bike ride, and rented rafts to float in the water. Another perk of this stop is your lunch is free because its their island…and more unlimited ice cream cones!

The water was gorgeous!

 

ADULT ONLY TIME

I know when people think of a Disney Cruise they think “KIDS EVERYWHERE” but that just wasn’t the case for us! Even in the main pool there weren’t a ton of kids. I’m sure there are times of the year that have more kids than others. But, even if there is more kids there is an entire section of the ship that is adults only! Adults only pools, hot tubs, and places that are just quiet to relax! Also a whole section dedicated to adult night life, bars, lounges with entertainment (musicians and comedians depending on the line up) a nightclub, and adult specific activities like cooking classes! Disney really makes sure adults enjoy themselves!

Clearly I think a cruise is a great option for an adults only vacation! Really I think you should do a trip anywhere without kids! (if possible) I think parents need time to just be husband and wife instead of mom and dad all the time.

We are leaving in a couple of weeks for our 7 day Halloween cruise with the kiddos so I’ll do a new post comparing the experience!

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