So it’s hard to believe that this was my view just a couple short days ago…
Instead of focusing on my training (which has continued to go well and is just about done…it’s coast till race day mode now), I will relive my amazing weekend here on the blog (at least a quick summary of it)! I know, I should be getting my game face on since the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in DC is this weekend, but I’m having a hard time shaking this happy post-cruise haze. Is there such a thing as cruise-lag?
Day 1 – Embarkation
I kicked off embarkation day with an amazing tempo run. Although I was dreading it since the night before (and every moment until it was over) it actually felt amazing. Although I was aiming for 7:50 pace on my tempo miles, I ended up running a stellar 7:46, 7:41, 7:47, 7:46. Since I had a busy (and procrastination filled) week, I had absolutely zero packed as of 8 am on the morning of the cruise. Since our assigned boarding time was 2:00 pm, we planned to head to the port at noon to allow for my habitual lateness (it takes just over an hour to get from Celebration to Port Canaveral).
We parked offsite, bussed to the terminal, and were checking-in in no time at all. I almost can’t believe it but this is the 7th time I have arrived at the Disney Cruise Line terminal and nothing else gets me quite so excited.
Once we stepped onto the beautiful Disney Dream, it was quickly off to our room so we could grab lunch before it was done for the day. Sitting down with my plate from that first lunch buffet is the real moment of arrival for me…and what a plate it was. I stopped by my good friend Nigel the Pelican on the way out and we headed to the room for a few minutes to settle in.
We snapped a quick picture on our veranda and it was time for the lifeboat drill and then the ever-important Sail Away Party!
The Sail Away deck party is always one of the highlights of a Disney Cruise. I mean, you can resist dancing up a storm with Mickey and the gang?
We explored the ship for a while and got ready for our first show of the cruise: The Golden Mickeys! It’s a wonderful show that features some favorite Disney characters and songs. I have seen it several times in the past but it never gets old.
We started our dining rotation in Animator’s Palate which was such a treat! For those who have never sailed on Disney Cruise Line before, they are the only Cruise Line that features “rotational dining” meaning that you eat in a different dining room each night of your voyage (with several visits to each dining room on longer cruises). Your servers and table mates move with you so you get the best of both worlds – variety with the consistency in service that makes cruises so amazing.
We were on a magic and caffeine fueled high and found it hard to fall asleep! I guess that’s why we accidentally slept in and almost missed breakfast the next morning.
Day 2 – Nassau, Bahamas
We never thought we would sleep in for long but rolled over and looked at the time around 10 am. We had to hustle to grab breakfast before it ended at 10:30. We didn’t have any big expectations for Nassau but did want to get off the ship to walk around for a little bit and grab wi-fi to check in at home.
We walked around the main street, browsing through the jewelry shops and looking at all of the things I would desperately love to buy. We got our fill and headed back to the ship to ride the Aqua Duck – an amazing slide/water coaster that takes you out over the side of the ship and around the top deck. It was my mom’s first ride and, despite being a little nervous about what to expect, she had an absolute blast! We hit the gym to use the treadmills (can’t let our fitness go – even on a 3 day cruise) and then got ready for our evening.
The show on night 2 is my personal favorite – Villains Tonight! This show is always hilarious and mixes in some pop-culture humor with classic Disney Villains and music. Charles wishes he could have been there to see it again!
Dinner was in another beautiful dining room, the Enchanted Garden. Possibly the prettiest restaurant on the ship, it appears that you are dining inside a charming vintage greenhouse and you watch the sunset throughout the room as the meal progresses. The Mickey fountain at the center of the restaurant is just one of its charming features.
Night 2 was also pirate night! This meant another fun-filled deck party and one of the most spectacular parts of any Disney cruise – fireworks at sea. After a wonderfully themed performance starring Jack Sparrow himself, we enjoyed the refreshing ocean breeze as we watched fireworks light up the sky.
It was right to bed after the fireworks (after a delicious crepe dessert, of course) as we had a big day ahead of us on Castaway Cay in the morning!
Day 3 – Castaway Cay
Castaway Cay is Disney’s private island and very simply is paradise. One of my favorite parts of spending the day on the island is running on the island (see, I brought this back around to running eventually). The ship hosts the runDisney Castaway Cay 5k which has been a highlight on past cruises. I really decided to race it like I would any other 5k, racing flats and all. Although I couldn’t get a real warm up in like I would for a normal race, I tried to aim for race pace spits.
I started off right on goal pace but slowed a little as I went (it was a bit hot out there, even fairly early in the morning). I had a really good race overall. I started out about the 5th woman in the field and pulled into the lead by the time we entered the last mile. I ended up taking a slight wrong turn near the end (due to a poorly marked course) but quickly back tracked and got on track. This definitely slowed down my time a little bit but I was still substantially ahead of the next person in the field. In the end, I was the first female finisher with a time of 23:30. Although it was just an unofficial race, it still felt amazing to be first overall female for the first time ever.
I’m so glad I brought my RooSport on this trip! It was PERFECT for holding my boarding card/room key and I practically forgot I head it on! I couldn’t speak more highly of it.
We got a little bit of a late start on the race (since the ship was a bit late pulling into port) so I was worried about missing the “breakfast date” I had set with my mom. As soon as I crossed the finish line, I started my cool down run from the start/finish to the ship which is just shy of a mile. We decided to do breakfast at the Enchanted Garden which was such a fabulous idea! It is such a pretty setting and was nice and quiet. We also got to sit in one of the fun booths we had admired the night before.
We finished up breakfast and got ready for a beautiful day on the beach! Disney offers an incredible adult-only beach called Serenity Bay which is always our favorite spot on the island. Set grabbed some beach chairs and enjoyed the calm of the island.
Although highlight of the island is a grill-out lunch! Since Serenity Bay is fairly secluded and far from the island’s family beaches, it has its own lunch location which is also adults only. They cook a mean steak but have lots of offering including hamburgers, hotdogs, fruit, salads, ice cream and cookies!
We were sad to leave but it was eventually time to head back to the ship. It was probably a good thing since I found I had a terrible sunburn on my stomach later. We couldn’t help but take in the amazing view as we walked back.
We snuck in one more ride on the AquaDuck before getting ready for the show and dinner. The final show is a truly touching show called Believe which is all about the real source of magic. It has an amazing number from the Princess and the Frog which is definitely my single favorite number from any Disney Cruise Line show.
Our last dinner was in the elegant Royal Palace. I was definitely not ready for the last dinner to be here already. When we finished dinner, we enjoyed a little music while we waited for the start of “See Ya Real Soon,” a great little gathering where some favorite characters come out to take pictures. We couldn’t resist a quick picture with my favorite, Minnie Mouse!
I grabbed a photos in a few of my favorite spots on the ship…
and then our last to-do…grabbing a drink at the Skyline Lounge. This beautiful bar features an ever-changing view of skylines from around the globe. The music and other atmospheric elements change with the skyline and it is one of the most beautiful spots on the ship. The “Oh La La” is my only must-have drink on the whole ship and tastes pretty close to a Mojito but is served in a fancy-schmancy martini glass.
Day 4 – Heading Home
This was the saddest part of the whole trip…
I shouldn’t be too sad…Charles and I will be sailing with Disney Cruise Line again soon! We’re headed on a 7 day cruise on the Disney Fantasy (the only Disney ship we have yet to sail on) at the very end of August for our 1 year anniversary! This trip has me so excited, I am already dreaming about it.
If you have never cruised with Disney, I suggest you give it a try! It’s one of my favorite Disney vacations and, even if only for 3 days, it’s a getaway you will never forget!
Have you ever cruise with Disney? What is your favorite thing about Disney Cruise Line?