Once again on this trip, I woke up early just before 7:00am after not having a great night’s sleep. I’m not sure if I was overtired or just never had the chance to properly relax on this trip and indeed the whole cruise, but I was exhausted the entire time.
I was however incredibly excited that we would be visiting the beautiful island of Castaway Cay on this day and by some strange coincidence, it was a year but one day exactly since our previous visit. Outside the window I could see a beautiful sunrise and Castaway Cay in the distance. If we’d had a balcony on this cruise, we would have watched our arrival from there but as we did not, we got dressed before collecting our cameras and making our way outside.
After getting a cup of tea from the drink station on Deck 11 and chatting with our server Odair who was working close by, we made our way to the front of Satellite Falls on Deck 13 where there was already a few people out. It was a warm but cloudy morning and once again, our cameras steamed up due to the humidity. Thankfully one of mine cleared in time for me to take photos – my SLR took forever!
Castaway Cay looked exactly how I remembered and as the ship turned, we made our way to the aft of the ship to watch us back into the dock – this was another time when it was noticeable how much bigger the Dream was compared to the Magic and the Wonder as there definitely a lot less room for the ship to manoeuvre.
We had even fewer plans for this day than on our previous visit so we were in no rush to get off the ship. We grabbed another cup of tea to take with us back to our room and saw the crowds heading into Cabanas and were glad that we were not joining them. As it was the majority of people’s first visit to Castaway Cay, there was a definite urgency in the air of people wanting to eat and get off the ship as quickly as possible.
After having a shower and getting dressed, we made our way to a very quiet Royal Palace for a sit down breakfast. We had suspected that it would be quite empty as most people seemed to be at Cabanas and we were not wrong. We both enjoyed a great breakfast and I used this time to get some photos of the murals on the walls which would be impossible to take during dinner. The servers seemed surprised that we had not got off the ship yet but understood as soon as we said we had visited Castaway Cay before.
After collecting our bags from our stateroom and bumping into and chatting with our Cruise Director Jimmy in the elevator, we headed down to Deck 1 where we disembarked from the midship gangway (the aft gangway was also available) just after 10:00am. This was a perfect time as both Chip and Dale and Daisy Duck (who we had not seen last year on Castaway Cay) were due out at 10:15am.
The Personal Navigator had said that Chip and Dale would be by the gangway but not which one. We waited and when they arrived they met halfway between the two. It seemed strange though that they did not use the ship as a background as it would have been much better than the shipping containers that you could see in the photos behind them. We then went to meet Daisy Duck who was at the Post Office and like Chip and Dale, there was only a few people waiting. Whilst we were waiting to meet Daisy, the man in front of us was hassling one of the character handlers asking her loudly which character she played. She handled the situation well whilst everyone else just stared at him thinking what an absolute idiot he was.
Once again, we did not use the tram and walked from the ship to the main guest areas of Castaway Cay. It is not a long walk and you can get so many great photos of the ship along the way against the beautiful blue sky in the background. I always take as many photos as I can when the weather is good just in case it turns bad later in the day – especially given the storms at this time of year.
Mickey and Pluto were both out at Scuttle’s Cove and Mount Rustmore with short lines however we had somewhere else we needed to be – plus we already had these photos from last year. After stopping at Cookies for a cold drink, we continued our walk towards Pelican Point where a few minutes later, Olaf appeared. Once again, I cannot thank the Cast Member enough who had left us a message saying where and when Olaf might appear. It was one of the only photos I wanted on this trip so I was so happy to see him and because they do not advertise this meet and greet, there was no line. It was a hot day but thankfully Olaf has his own personal flurry to keep him cool.
After meeting Olaf, I popped into the Buy the Seashore shop to see if they had any Castaway Cay merchandise I wanted to buy. Nothing jumped out at me until I saw the most amazing Olaf sandcastle Christmas tree decoration. I had never seen this decoration before so knew I had to buy him immediately and I did not want to wait until later in the day in case they sold out. I bought one for myself and one for my friends who had tracked down a Olaf decoration for me a few years ago when they were sold out everywhere and for which I am still forever grateful.
As all the family areas on our last visit to Castaway Cay had been very quiet, we had used the time then to go in the snorkelling lagoon and on the slides at Pelican Plunge. As this cruise was the complete opposite (lots of families and double the amount of people), our plan for this day had always been to go to Serenity Bay which is the adult only area of the island.
There is a separate tram which is clearly marked that operates to Serenity Bay from the Pelican Plunge tram stop. The journey takes a few minutes and actually drives along the old airstrip on the island.
There was already a long line of people waiting for lunch when we arrived at Serenity Bay, so we decided to grab an ice cream and a cold drink and find somewhere to sit in the shade on the beach.
I’m not very good at just sitting on a beach (I find it boring and I don’t sunbathe) so after a while, I decided to take my camera and walk the length of Serenity Bay. It was incredibly beautiful, very peaceful and it was lovely just to paddle in the warm water.
We were both getting hungry so decided to go and see if the line for lunch was any shorter and thankfully it was. Unfortunately the choices for lunch if you do not eat meat are still bad – in fact there was even less choice than last year. I ended up having two small slices of cheese, some potato salad and some Greek salad. I’m not sure if the selection would have better at Cookies or Cookies Too but at Serenity Bay, it was not good. If you like burgers and hot dogs though, you’ll be fine.
After finishing lunch, we took the tram back to Pelican Point. It had been noticeable all day how much busier the island was than on our last visit, but from here you could see just how busy. The family beaches were packed and there were also long lines for Pelican Plunge which there had not been last time.
The only other thing we wanted to do whilst we were at Castaway Cay was to go to the Heads Up Bar at Pelican Point and get a cocktail. This is one of my favourite areas of the island as you can just sit under an umbrella in peace and quiet with a drink whilst enjoying an amazing view across the snorkelling lagoon towards the ship.
As it was still early, it was not happy hour but our two Strawberry Daiquiris still only came to $5.95 each.
After a while, we made the decision to head back to the ship to enjoy a few hours onboard with less people. We took our drinks with us and started a slow walk back. I did have a look in the She Sells Sea Shells and Everything Else shop to see if they had any different merchandise but they did not – they had no Olaf decorations either so I’m glad I bought mine in the Buy the Seashore shop when I did. This is also the best time to get a photo of Mount Rustmore as all the character meets on the island have finished for the day.
We walked the whole way back to the ship and once again did not use the tram. Despite having so many photos of Castaway Cay already, I still could not stop taking more! Even though we only spent a few hours on the island, I would not have changed anything. We had always said that we were going to do as little as possible whilst on Castaway Cay as we wanted this day to be as relaxed as possible and it definitely was.
After taking some more photos of the Mickey Mouse on the stern of the ship and seeing that the Castaway Cay Post Office was actually open, we showed our passports to the Bahamian officials at the entrance to the dock area before being handed a beautiful and refreshing ice cold towel and making our way back onboard. A line had built up at the aft gangway so we made our way to the midship one where there was no one waiting.
Once back onboard, we made our way back up to our stateroom to get rid of our bags and change into our swimwear (no we did not wear it whilst on the island) ready for the rest of our afternoon up on deck. Some bandanas ready for Pirate Night had been left on our bed.
We went up to Deck 12 ready for another ride on the Aquaduck. The line was actually longer than what we thought it would be so we ended up waiting slightly longer than we had the day before in Nassau – it seemed like everyone had had the same idea as us. It was just as much fun the second time around and the view of Castaway Cay whilst riding was perfect.
After having very little for lunch, I was starving so I grabbed two slices of pizza and a cold drink and we went and sat by the Quiet Cove pool which was empty. After eating we noticed that the hot tubs were empty as well so sat in them for a while – I especially loved the glass floor in them so you can see all the way down to the sea or the dock below you.
We moved to the pool but after a little while, it started to get a lot busier and having to listen to other peoples loud conversations was not fun so we moved up to the Satellite Falls area. I think this is my new favourite area on the Dream as it was just so peaceful. Sitting in the cool water and the shade whilst underneath the falling water from one of the satellites was heavenly. Whilst we were at Satellite Falls, the Do You Want to Build a Snowman horn sounded as there was thirty minutes left until the all aboard time.
About ten minutes before we left Castaway Cay, I grabbed another drink and made my way to the aft of Deck 13 to watch sailaway. It was still bright blue skies and sunshine which was the total opposite to our last visit when we left Castaway Cay during a thunderstorm which was amazing to watch but we could not see much of the island. This time however, the view of Castaway Cay was great and we were treated to the sound of all eight horns of the Disney Dream as we left the dock.
We left Castaway Cay slowly as Captain Thord had already announced that we would pretty much be floating for most of the next day before making our way to Port Canaveral.
The one thing I wanted to do before our day at sea when I knew it would be busy was to get some photos of the Aquaduck. It was a perfect time right now as many people were back in their rooms getting ready for Pirate Night.
As there was only a short line at this time, I managed to get the photos in the queue line showing the brilliant story of the Aquaduck featuring Donald Duck and Huey, Dewey and Louie – I had loved the storyboards of the Aquadunk on the Magic too.
There are also a few references to the Aquaduck story when walking around the deck which I also loved. You can see Donald has flown into the side of the funnel and his hat has landed in the Funnel Puddle pool. I also noticed that on the photos in the queue line, it showed Donald losing his trousers when he went flying off the slide. I did look around the deck for them but couldn’t find them so I can only assume they went overboard in the story.
Before heading back to our stateroom, I noticed that we could see a beautiful view of Serenity Bay from the starboard side of the ship. It was also at this time that all the background music on the ship turned pirate themed ready for the night ahead.
The show on this night was “The Physical Comedy of Charles Peachock” which we missed as we would rather have some time to chill and rest in the room instead of going to a show that we had no interest in seeing.
After getting ready, we headed up to Deck 12 at about 7:00pm to grab a good spot ready for the Mickey’s Pirate in the Caribbean deck party which was due to start at 7:45pm. I had not originally intended to get there as early as that but I’m glad I did as it was already starting to get busy. One of the benefits of having later dining is never having to rush dinner to see the shows that happen between the two sittings. The main difference on Pirate Night on the Dream and Fantasy is that there are two different shows instead of one and the fireworks happen during Buccaneer Blast later in the evening.
I always choose to stand on the higher deck and watch the parties from above with an unobstructed view however one thing that I did like which I’d never seen before was that everyone on Deck 11 in the area in front of the stage was sat down so everyone on that deck behind them could see.
At the start of the show, Mickey, Minnie, Daisy, Donald and Goofy arrive on stage to teach everyone what it takes to be a member of Mickey’s pirate crew.
This is put to the test when not long afterwards, the ship is taken over by Captain Hook and Smee and Mickey challenges Hook to a Captain’s Challenge to win the ship back. I absolutely loved this show and could not stop smiling throughout.
Once the show had finished, we made our way to Royal Palace for dinner. As it was the Pirates IN the Caribbean menu being served, we had asked our Head Server Mavis the night we boarded if she could arrange a curry for us on this night as we had enjoyed the one on our last cruise so much. Once again, it was absolutely amazing and yet again we had more questioning and disapproving looks from the table next to us as they were probably wondering what food we had as it was not listed on the menu.
We also learnt from our server Odair that finally a new Pirates IN the Caribbean menu was starting the following week. I have since seen a copy of the new menu online and what a difference. It has gone from a menu where there was nothing I wanted to order to one where I want to order so much. I look forward to trying it on our next cruise.
After dinner, we waited to meet Pirate Goofy on Deck 4 who was the only character that had not appeared for photos on Pirate Night on our last cruise. We did not meet any other characters on this night as the lines were very long and again, we already had the photos.
Once we had met Goofy, it was time to head back to Deck 12 to grab a spot for the Buccaneer Blast show. As the fireworks are launched from the starboard side of the ship, we stood on the port side so we could watch the show and then look up to see the fireworks without having to turn around. It was much busier much earlier on deck than it had been for the Mickey’s Pirates in the Caribbean party so I would not have wanted to leave it any later as all the good spots had nearly gone – and this was thirty minutes before it was due to start.
During the show, Captain Jack Sparrow drops in (literally) before the fireworks start. It was a perfect night weather wise so we had no worries about the fireworks not going ahead like last time.
Straight after Buccaneer Blast, Club Pirate started on Deck 11 and unlike on our Transatlantic cruise when everyone went straight inside, people were staying stay out for it and were dancing away – the music was incredibly loud and there were lasers pointing and moving around the sky. We walked towards Currents which was quite busy as this looks to be an amazing spot to sit back and watch the fireworks with a drink in hand – the view would be great from here if you did not want to watch the show.
We went back to our stateroom to drop our cameras off before heading back up to Cabanas on Deck 11 for the Pirate Night buffet. After our last cruise, we were expecting craziness but as everyone was outside dancing at Club Pirate, it was actually very sane. The people that were in there were all grabbing one of those giant turkey legs that you see in the park that you can smell a mile away. The vegetarian options during this buffet are not great unless you want a taco shell or a baked potato however, the dessert station was amazing and the Strawberry Panna Cotta was to die for. It was that good, that I took another one back to our room along with a cup of tea to sit and eat in bed!
We had a strange sunglasses-wearing blanket creature on our bed which to this day, neither of us are sure what it was supposed to be. Also on our bed was our four tip envelopes ready for the following day.
Even though we had had a relaxing day, both of us were absolutely exhausted at this point. I was happy that we had a day at sea the following day as if this had been a three night cruise, we would be disembarking a few hours later and that would have meant the cruise being over even before it’s had a chance to start – and we thought four nights was too rushed!
The one thing which we always thought before this cruise was completely true – we’ve been spoilt by the longer cruises on the much more relaxed smaller ships. We made an agreement to never do a short cruise again before we both fell asleep.
Roll on our day at sea…