1. Disney Dream Halloween on the High Seas Cruise: Day Two – Nassau, Bahamas

    After a few solid hours of sleep, I woke up early at 06:55am. I tried going back to sleep but that was never going to happen. After sitting in bed with some tea and watching the Good Morning Disney Dream show on the television, I looked out of the window to see that we were approaching Nassau. It looked very stormy outside and there were many grey clouds to be seen. We were also treated to the sight of a beautiful rainbow.

    As we wanted to watch our arrival into Nassau, after getting dressed we headed up to the front of Deck 13 forward. Unfortunately this is when we discovered one of the downsides of not having a verandah as both our cameras steamed up due to the humidity outside and took forever to clear. When we’ve had a verandah before, I’ve always put the cameras outside on a chair as soon as I’ve woken up to give them time to adjust to the temperature.

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    We could see a cloudy, grey and dreary looking Nassau right ahead of us – there were already three ships in port and another one behind us waiting to arrive. It was going to be a busy day in “the iconic port of Nassau” (as it had been described the day before) but thankfully we had nothing planned so were not worried about the impending crowds in the slightest. In fact if our day had turned into a day at sea, we would have been incredibly happy about it and would not have been sad to miss Nassau at all.

    Once the harbour pilot had boarded, we headed towards the port where the ships horn had to be blasted loudly several times in quick succession to get some small boats out of the way. The ship turned around in the harbour before backing in to our dock between the Carnival Valor and the Enchantment of the Seas. During this time we were waving like crazy towards the webcam which is located at the British Colonial Hilton on the waterfront but we later found out it had not been working. Unlike any other arrival we have experienced on Disney, the When You Wish Upon a Star horn was not sounded once we had docked.

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    Once we had docked, the outside decks were empty as I guess most people were waiting to disembark for their day in Nassau. It did not take long before they announced that the ship had been cleared by customs and we could see people already making their way along the dock. Whilst we were up on deck, it really was fascinating to see bright blue skies out to sea and grey storm clouds and plenty of lightning over Nassau.

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    We were both hungry so decided to go to Cabanas for breakfast. Thankfully we had missed the early morning rush so it was quiet and were able to sit outside with our food. To my delight, I had a Mango Mountain Hike smoothie for breakfast which I had fallen in love with on our last cruise. It was absolutely fascinating to watch the lightning around us whilst we were eating breakfast outside.

    At this point, I might have been worried if we had been going to Aquaventure at Atlantis given the weather. I did look up the prices and was shocked at how much it was to go whether you booked it independently or not – it really was silly money especially given how short your time is there once your factor in the journey to and from the ship. Also given how many ships were in port, I can’t think that it would have been any fun at all as I can only begin to imagine the line for the Leap of Faith all day especially compared to our amazing day at Aquaventure in Dubai earlier this year which had no lines, more slides and cost a fraction of the price.

    After having a shower back in our stateroom, we decided to go for a walk around the ship and noticed that pumpkins had appeared on the Pumpkin Tree in the lobby atrium overnight.

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    As we were walking around Deck 4, we noticed they were doing some lifeboat drills so stood and watched for a while along with many other people. We even watched them reattach the lifeboats and lift them out of the water and back onto the ship. It was so interesting to watch and definitely better than anything that Nassau had to offer.

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    Just before 11:30am we made our way to Animator’s Palate for the Frozen Meet and Greet experience that we had booked online. We really wanted to meet Olaf but was not sure if he appeared on the Disney Dream or not but as there was no charge for the meet and greet, it made sense to book it just in case. After our tickets were checked, we joined a small line in Animator’s Palate which had Frozen music playing as well as Frozen scenes on all the television screens. It was only Anna and Elsa who were there as we suspected but we did wait and have a photo taken with them. On the way out, I asked one of the character handlers if it was true that Olaf can sometimes be seen on Castaway Cay and was told that yes, he is sometimes there on certain cruises.

    As the weather was getting better outside and blue skies had started to appear everywhere, we decided to get off the ship at this time to take some photos of the Disney Dream just in case it was bad weather the next day at Castaway Cay. We already had our passports with us so headed down to Deck 1 where they were using both the forward and midship gangways to disembark. Once off the ship, they had set a station up where you could help yourself to free mosquito repellent if you wanted any.

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    We decided to leave the dock and walk the short distance towards Senor Frogs and the British Colonial Hilton to get a photo with the Disney Dream and the other ships in the background. I’d been to Nassau before many years ago so knew that it was not far to go. After making your way through the crowds in Festival Place, you then just have to walk along the waterfront past the Straw Market and people selling conch shells, starfish and pufferfish whilst ignoring anyone offering you a taxi ride, horse ride, boat ride or free wifi. Contrary to some other reports, there is nothing intimidating or unsafe about leaving the dock area in Nassau and once you refuse whatever service is being offered, they do not hassle you anymore.

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    Senor Frogs was already a noisy hive of drunken activity when we got there so we got the photos we wanted quickly before turning around and making our way back to the dock.

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    Once back at Festival Place, you just then follow the “To All Cruise Ships” sign (which is the best sign in Nassau) before joining a long line along with all the other passengers from the other ships. You have to show your passport and Key to the World to one of the Bahamian officials before making your way back along the dock to the ship. It was so hot, crowded and miserable that we could not wait to get back onboard. This was as much Nassau as we could take.

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    Before we went on the cruise I remember thinking that we could have a photo taken in front of the “Welcome to the Bahamas” sign but it’s been covered with hundreds of stupid excursion stickers (mainly from MSC Cruises) that you cannot actually read what it says anymore – what’s the point of it now?

    It took us a few minutes to get back onboard the Dream as they were having trouble trying to fit some luggage that had just arrived through the x-ray machine that had missed the ship in Port Canaveral and had been flown out to Nassau to be reunited with its owners. It made me think that I would always drop my luggage off at the port itself and not rely on it being collected and transferred from the airport to the port – what if you had lots of sea days before your next port?

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    As we were both hot and sweaty after our short trip into Nassau, there was only one thing to do and that was to go on the Aquaduck to cool down. After getting changed and making our way to Deck 12, we joined the line and waited about fifteen minutes for our turn. It was great fun and definitely worth the wait whilst the line was shorter as so many people were off the ship. After quickly drying off, we went to Cabanas for lunch which was very quiet before heading back to our stateroom for a shower ready for the rest of the afternoon.

    Our plan was to watch the first Mickey’s Mousequerade Party which was taking place at 3:15pm as we figured it would be much quieter than the second one at 4:45pm when most of the people would be back onboard which turned out to be true as it was very quiet. There were games and trick or treat candy stations set up around the lobby atrium before the party started. The characters appeared for a dance party and were all dressed up in their Halloween costumes – Mickey was a vampire, Minnie a witch, Goofy a mummy, Pluto a candy corn, Donald a superhero and Chip and Dale were a cop and robber. They danced to Monster Mash, Calling all the Monsters, I Got a Scream On, DJ Mo Reese vs the Freaks, Roar and Thriller. It was such good fun and the sight of the characters doing the Thriller dance was brilliant!

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    Even though we had not met any of the characters on the first night, we had always known that we wanted to get their photos in their Halloween costumes. After the Mousequerade Party, we waited a few minutes to meet Goofy dressed as a mummy.

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    We dropped off our cameras back in our stateroom along with our bags of candy. We had not gone crazy collecting it as we would only have to carry it back home and it never gets eaten anyway! We also discovered that a stateroom near to us had attached a crow to their door handle which made loud caw sounds every time you walked past it which was stupidly annoying and incredibly irritating as we had no other way to get to our room so we heard it so many times for the rest of the cruise. The rest of the tat on their door was bad enough but the crow was cheap and nasty.

    We made our way to the Vacation Planning Center which opened at 4:00pm as we wanted to make a placeholder reservation for our next cruise. It was $250 (which they converted to £180 so we can make all future payments in Pounds) and when we find a cruise we want to do within the next two years, all we have to do is contact Disney and they will transfer the booking over and add all the benefits from booking onboard such as the 10% discount and the onboard credit.

    As we were getting closer to our All Aboard time and as two of the other ships in Nassau that day had departure times before ours, we thought it might be fun to head up to Deck 13 Aft with a cold drink and an ice cream and watch any latecomers trying to run along the dock. There were many people running and even lots of golf carts dropping people back off at their respective ships – we even saw one man run back into Nassau. So much happened in the next hour and it was great that we could just sit back with a drink and watch.

    Whilst we were people watching below, the emergency signal started sounding on our ship. It got to three blasts before it stopped and Captain Thord quickly apologised and announced that it was a mistake and there was nothing to worry about. We carried on our people watching and the next minute an ambulance appeared and started driving along the dock before driving towards one of the Carnival ships as the other Carnival ship sailed from the dock. A few minutes later we saw them carrying someone off on a stretcher.

    We decided to walk to the front of Deck 13 as we heard them paging several names on our ship who were missing. Captain Thord made an announcement to say that we were missing people but as we only had a short distance (60 nautical miles) to go to Castaway Cay the next day, the delay the missing people were causing would not affect us at all. Whilst he was speaking the “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” horn sounded.

    They paged the missing guests by name again and at this point we were watching the dock below to see if they turned up. Finally thirty minutes after our all aboard time, we saw a golf cart speeding along the dock before two people got out and casually walked up the gangway – one whilst holding a glass. So well done Devon and Julie from Deck 6 for delaying the whole ship and the other 3600-ish passengers onboard. Everyone else was back onboard on time so there really was no excuse.

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    The gangway was removed immediately and after the other Carnival ship had left the harbour, we left the dock to the sounds of some of the Disney Dream horns blasting including “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes”, “Be Our Guest”, “An Actor’s Life for Me” and “It’s a Small World After All”. They also had to sound the ship’s horn several times as there was several small boats blocking the entrance to the harbour again. We also waved at the webcam again which was working this time!

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    After getting ready for dinner back in our stateroom, we headed down to Preludes a few minutes early ready to meet Chip and Dale who were due out at 7:15pm and helped by the fact that a lot of people were still in the show or at dinner, we were first in line. They were only out for fifteen minutes so I’m glad that we got this photo when we did.

    We then made our way to the lobby atrium where surprisingly there was not a long line to meet Minnie who was out for thirty minutes. Once we had met Minnie, we went up to Deck 4 and joined the line to meet Mickey. This line however was quite long and we ended up waiting about twenty minutes to meet him.

    Meeting the characters on the Dream in the evenings was much harder work than on our previous cruises as you only have a three or four nights onboard so it never calms down and the lines never get shorter throughout the cruise like we are used to. There is also double the amount of people on the ship. All you can do is what we did which is try to get there early for each meet and greet or if possible, go later in the evening when there are fewer families with smaller children waiting.

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    We still had ten minutes before dinner so went out for a walk on Deck 4 but did not get far as there was the most amazing lightning show happening in the distance out at sea. It was incredible to watch.

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    We headed back inside and down to Deck 3 as our dinner that night was in Royal Palace which is located to the side of the lobby atrium. It is very similar to both Tritons on the Wonder and Lumieres on the Magic and the menu was a combination of both of those restaurants. One thing that was definitely different was the amazing carriage shaped bread basket which was also shaped like a Mickey head when you turned it upside down – sadly they did not sell these onboard as I definitely would have bought one.

    I ordered a Princess Delight non alcoholic cocktail which was delicious. I had the Iced Lobster and Jumbo Shrimp as well as the Breaded and Deep Fried Brie and yet again, we both got looks from the table next to us as we both ordered more than one starter. I’m not sure what their issue was each night as we ate everything and nothing went to waste. I had the Conchiglie Pasta for my main course followed by the Raspberry Mousse Slice with Green Tea Cream.

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    After dinner we went for a walk to help digest our food. There was only one more character meet that we wanted to do which was Pluto at 10:30pm. We each got some tea which we took back to our stateroom before making the quick trip down two decks to Preludes. As we got there a few minutes early again, we were close to the front of the line so we did not have to wait too long to meet Pluto in his candy corn costume.

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    Our towel animal was waiting for us on the bed and we also had been left a small note on our door from the Cast Member that we had spoken to earlier in the day telling us where and when Olaf might appear on Castaway Cay the following day. This was the most amazing and special touch which we will be forever grateful for as Olaf is not an advertised character meet so you would never know he was out unless you were in the right place at the right time.

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    Once again, it did not take long to fall asleep. For some reason it takes me forever to fall asleep at home and only minutes on a cruise. The next day we would be at Castaway Cay nearly a year to the exact day of our last visit.

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