1. Disney Wonder Very Merrytime Cruise: Day Five – Falmouth, Jamaica

    After a brilliant albeit tiring day the day before in Grand Cayman, we were both looking forward to a more relaxed day. We were woken up just after 7:00am by the thrusters of the ship as we started to dock in Falmouth. I tried to fall back asleep but could not which was annoying as it was going to be a long day as the Pirates IN the Caribbean fireworks were due to start at 10:00pm that night.

    As soon as I walked onto the verandah you could feel the humidity in the air for the first time during the cruise and my camera steamed up immediately. I quickly grabbed all of our cameras and put them on one of the chairs outside to give them time to adjust to the temperature. It was very misty and stormy outside which was not helping with how humid it felt. In the distance, we could see the Norwegian Epic approaching the port – we were originally supposed to be the only ship docked in Falmouth that day but many ships changed to Western Caribbean itineraries after Hurricane Irma destroyed many of the Eastern Caribbean ports.

    Once again we had very little planned for this day. I’ve been to Jamaica a number of times before and there was not really anything we wanted to do or see. Actually I tell a lie as I’ve always wanted to see Dunns River Falls but the thought of visiting there on a busy day with cruise ships in port and having to hold hands with complete strangers whilst making your way uphill is not my idea of a good time. In your mind you imagine the Falls as they were in the film Cocktail, yet the reality is a somewhat depressing thought.

    It started to rain heavily outside so after having a shower and getting dressed, the first thing on our list of things to do was to meet Daisy Duck who was out in the lobby atrium at 9:15am. As a lot of people had already left the ship, the line to meet her was not too long. As she had not been out much during the cruise, people were waiting with a lot of items to be autographed including a few broken photo frames!

    Up to this point during the cruise, we had been very much aware of the fact that the majority of the passengers on the ship were American and we had not heard any other British accents at all apart from the crew. My boyfriend decided to go and ask at Guest Services and they were able to tell us that there was a total of 2477 passengers onboard – 2233 of them were American and the remaining 244 were other nationalities but mostly Canadian. Out of those 244, 10 of those (including us) were British.

    The rain had stopped by this time and it looked to be getting brighter outside so we walked up to Deck 10 to look at the view on our way to Cabanas for breakfast. Some areas of the deck were completely flooded due to how much rain there had been in such a short amount of time but most of the grey clouds had already disappeared into the distance. I could also see people on the dock taking photos of the stern of the ship so I was excited that I would finally be able to get one of the photos that I had wanted since the beginning of the cruise.

    During this time, they were also holding emergency drills for the crew across the ship and we heard various horns, alarms and signals including the one for abandon ship.

    After breakfast we collected our passports and cameras from our stateroom and headed down to Deck 1 Aft where we disembarked the Wonder at 10:45am. After taking the photos we wanted of the stern of the ship, we had to walk to the other end of the pier to enter the port area. There was a long line of people waiting to have their photo taken at the “Welcome to Falmouth” sign so we went back and took our photos there as we reboarded the ship a little while later when it was much, much quieter.

    Despite a lot of the problems that there are in Jamaica right now, there is no need to worry in Falmouth as the entire port area is behind gates. It was much quieter than I thought it would be despite there being two ships docked. As usual there are the normal shops, a store where you can rent shoes (ewww) to climb Dunns River Falls, some stalls selling Jamaican crafts (which people were going crazy for) as well as a giant Margaritaville which was where we were headed.

    We had been planning on getting a drink in Margaritaville but it was just so noisy when we got there despite there being lots of empty tables. Instead of the normal Jimmy Buffett music that you usually have on in the background in Margaritaville, it was someone shouting into a microphone whilst playing loud music and trying way too hard to get people to join in with a competition – you could not really call it relaxing so we decided to not sit down and just explore the port more before getting back on the Wonder.

    We took some time to explore and walk around the rest of the port area. There was nothing else we wanted to do so after taking a few more photos, we decided to go and enjoy the peace and quiet back onboard the ship.

    In Falmouth after showing your Key to the World card, you go through security in one of the port buildings rather than onboard the ship as you do in most other ports. It only took a few minutes and we arrived back at the ship just in time to see the Hotel Director get soaked as a wave splashed between the dock and the ship and over the top of the gangway and anyone who was standing on it.

    On our way back to our stateroom, we said hello to Captain Daniele who we bumped into in the corridor on Deck 7 before going on a little walk around the deck – the weather was now so beautiful outside and was a complete contrast to earlier that morning. We then headed to a very quiet Cabanas for lunch where we were able to sit down outside in the shade and enjoy the view around us as we were eating.

    After lunch, we made our way down to Deck 5 to look around the new Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post area in the Oceaneer’s Club which was in open house at this time. I loved all the details and could not stop laughing when Oaken himself appears in the sauna window every few minutes.

    The lobby atrium was also empty and very quiet at this time so we used the opportunity to take some more photos. Not long afterwards a line started forming incredibly early as Tinker Bell (who I’ve never seen on any of our cruises) was due out for a meet and greet.

    We decided to sit by the Quiet Cove pool for the rest of the afternoon and as it was quiet, we had no problem getting two sun loungers in the shade. There was still a while to go before all aboard at 4:45pm so we spent the time in the pool as well as getting a drink and some vanilla cupcakes from Cove Cafe. I also used the time to walk around Deck 10 several times – as I’ve always said, keep walking around the decks as much as you can whilst on a cruise and then you can enjoy the food you want without having to worry about putting weight on. Walking around the ship never seems like a chore to me either as there is just so much to look at and to take photos of – it really is one of my favourite things to do onboard.

    At 4:45pm which was our all aboard time, we were missing passengers so we walked up to Deck 10 to see if we could see anyone running through the port. As we waited, the Norwegian Epic started to move away from the dock and we were treated to the amazing sound of another horn battle which once again, the Disney Wonder naturally won.

    We left the dock about twenty minutes later and were treated to the sight of an incredibly beautiful sunset over Falmouth and the Jamaican coastline.

    We made our way back to our stateroom to have a shower and to sit and relax on the verandah before dinner. Neither of us had any wish to go and watch an unfunny comedy juggler in the Walt Disney Theatre and we also did not want to meet any characters on this night either as we already have the photos of them in their pirate costumes.

    We decided to go and people watch which is always good fun on Pirate Night – how people carry so many pirate costumes with them for one night of the cruise always amazes me. We walked to the shops which had been picked clean of any pirate accessories that were for sale so if there is something Pirate-themed you want on the cruise, make sure to buy it before Pirate Night. Outside Preludes was a huge crowd of people were waiting to meet Captain Jack Sparrow. As we still had some time to kill before dinner, we walked around outside on Deck 4 and even saw some lightning in the distance.

    For our Pirate Night dinner, we were back in Animator’s Palate which I think could be my favourite restaurant to have this dinner in due to the lighting and all the different drawings on the screens as well as pirate music in the background. Since our last cruise, there is now a new Pirates IN the Caribbean menu which we were both looking forward to trying as the last menu was not very good and we always used to order a curry on this night instead. For my starters I ordered the Davy Jones’ Locker Rock Crab Cake and the Master Gibbs’ Half Pint of Shrimp Cocktail (which was actually only three shrimp) and for my main course I had the Shanghaied Noodle Stir Fry which was delicious. Both Harry and Fitzroy knew that we wanted to eat our dinner quickly on this night so they got our food out to us as soon as they could which we were very grateful for.

    As we were eating, I was watching the screens and thought that the drawings looked very familiar – I knew I had seen them before and my boyfriend agreed with me. As more drawings were shown, it became obvious where we had seen them before as they were the concept art from Treasure Cove and the Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure ride in Shanghai Disneyland – somewhere we have both been many times and love. It was so cool to see and I was so grateful to be in Animator’s Palate for dinner that night as I would never have seen them if we had been in a different restaurant.

    We were both full from our dinner so neither of us wanted dessert at this time but that did not matter in the slightest as there was going to be the Pirate Night buffet later in the evening after the fireworks which meant we could get dessert then instead.

    I’m incredibly happy that we ate dinner as quickly as we did as the only thing we wanted was a good spot to watch the Pirates IN the Caribbean fireworks and when we got up to Deck 10, there were already quite a few people up there and this was nearly an hour before they were due to start. Thankfully we got the spot we wanted but we timed it just right as it did start to get busy a lot earlier than we’ve ever seen before. A lot of people were also turning up very late just before 10:00pm and making comments very loudly behind everyone’s backs (that we could clearly hear) that they thought we should move so they could stand where we were. Sorry but not going to happen – if you want a good view then get there early and wait like everyone else did!

    Whilst we were waiting, there was light up merchandise being sold as well as what can only be described as the single most annoying thing for Disney to ever sell – bubble wands! I do not know who thought they would be a good idea but they are awful. At some points you could could see was a sea of bubbles in front of you which made getting photos of the stage incredibly difficult as not only do they screw up the focus when you’re trying to take a picture but you end up with bubble residue all over your camera lens.

    Five minutes before the Pirates IN the Caribbean party started, there was an awful teenage “flash mob” on the stage which really was so bad, it was embarrassing to watch. At 10:00pm, the cruise staff appeared to try and warm up the crowd for the next ten minutes – I wish they could have started earlier and not done the flash mob at all as waiting for the characters to appear seemed to take forever.

    Finally Minnie, Goofy, Chip and Dale appeared and danced to Try Everything, Me Too, Birthday, What Makes You Beautiful, Treasure, Uptown Funk, Time of Our Lives, Shut Up and Dance With Me and Cake by the Ocean.

    Captain Hook, Smee and the rest of their crew arrived and took over the party and danced to I Wanna Rock, I Love Rock and Roll, Hit Me With Your Best Shot, You Give Love a Bad Name, Living on a Prayer and The Final Countdown with some help from various groups in the audience.

    It was also at this time that I started thinking how much more I preferred Mickey’s Pirates in the Caribbean party that we saw on the Disney Dream and which is also on the Disney Fantasy – that one feels like a proper show and not just another character dance party like this one does.

    Mickey appeared to save the day and start the fireworks. However it was obvious very quickly that something was wrong and instead of ziplining across the deck to the stage, Mickey dropped off the platform and bounced off the funnel as he fell down. Amazingly he landed on the bottom rung of the funnel and quickly sat up as the fireworks started.

    During the next few minutes, as well as keeping one eye on the sky, we watched as they slowly lowered Mickey onto Deck 10 as most people were watching the fireworks and their attention was elsewhere – it always seems like something goes wrong at one of the deck parties when we sail on the Disney Wonder!

    The characters were all dancing to Justin Timberlake when they finally got Mickey through the crowds and onto the stage to join them. After the party finished, we waited for a few minutes to let the majority of the people leave as it was very crowded due to one side of Deck 10 and therefore some of the staircases being barricaded off as it is close to the area where they launch the fireworks from.

    There is always a long line for the Pirate Night Buffet in Cabanas so we dropped our bags and cameras off in our stateroom before going back up to Cabanas about ten minutes later. By this time, the long line to get in had disappeared and we did not have to wait at all. They had all the usual Turkey Legs, Crepes and Baked Potatoes however all I wanted was dessert and I was over the moon to see the Strawberry Panna Cotta that I had fallen in love with the year before on the Disney Dream.

    Our assistant server Fitzroy was working at the dessert station and it was decided that as I had not had dessert earlier in the evening, I should have three portions of the Panna Cotta. We took our desserts and a cup of tea back to our stateroom.

    We had a Davy Jones made from our blanket as well as my sunglasses waiting for us on the bed along with some chocolate coins and our Personal Navigator for the next day. I got ready for bed before sitting and eating my desserts which were every bit as good as what I remembered and I enjoyed every single bite of them.

    I was really looking forward to the next day of our cruise as we had a day at sea and that meant we could have a lay in. After three port days in a row, our next two days at sea sounded like absolute heaven.

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