The final part of this 3-night Disney Dream cruise involved one of the highlights of many Disney Cruise Itineraries, a stop at their private island, Castaway Cay. This was a day where many of the folks in our group kind of did their own thing in the morning as there were some who were taking part in the 5K race on the island, some had reservations for activities on the island, and others who were taking their time getting up because of the previous night of celebrating. When I woke up, I went back to Cabana's for breakfast again, only this time we were already docked while I ate.
The unfortunate side of our visit was that the weather wasn't nearly as nice as it was the day before in Nassau as it was cooler and a decent wind blew through most of he day, so it would have an effect on the experience, but never-the-less, I was ready to explore while we were here.
Of course, with it being Disney, there were character meet & greets all over, from the classic characters to the even more fitting pirates like Captain Hook, Mr. Smee and Captain Jack Sparrow.
In some respects, the island resembles being at one of Disney's parks or resorts because they include the same kinds of details in themeing that they do in the parks and resorts, among the activities offered, I took advantage of a kayak rental as I had never done so before, and the mostly calm waters seemed like it would be a good place to try it out. The downside though was that the wind sure did like to make you go in directions you didn't really want to, but I certainly wouldn't be opposed to giving it another go. I did also spend a bit of time in one of the swimming areas, but didn't stay in long because of the colder temperatures.
As time went by, I did grab some lunch at Cookie's BBQ, which I have to admit might have been one of the least inspired meals I've had with a Disney experience. They offered fairly run-of-the-mill types of food for a bbq, burgers, hot dogs the typical side items of beans, chips, potato salad, fruit salad and the like, which I imagine is because they are trying to ensure they feed just about everyone who was on the boat that comes out to visit the Island, so kind of a typical mass production type eating senario. I will say though, I did enjoy the Banana soft-serve ice cream they had for dessert!
What I probably enjoyed the most for my time on the island was taking advantage of the hammocks they have all over. It was so nice to find a shady spot, lay back and close my eyes for a while to just relax. Something I don't often do when traveling as I usually try to pack in as much as I can when visiting different places.
When we were about half-way through the time we had at this Port of Call, I decided to head back to the ship as the cooler weather was a bit of a bummer, and there were some things I wanted to check out there that I didn't get to before. While there were several activities on the island that I didn't get to, I figured that I could always save them for a return visit with another cruise.
Back on board, I ended up leaving my phone in the state room and heading to the Quiet Cove pool in the Adult Only portion of the deck. As it turned out, it sort of became out reunion location as many others from our group came there as well. This was also the point in which several of us tried out the Aquaduck Water Coaster on board. When compared to other water coaster slides, it is by far one of the tamest as it lacks any big drops that others will have, but it is neat to have the large amount of clear sections to see out as you slide. Although the water was REALLY cold with the cooler temperatures, so this led to a quick retreat back to the Quite Cove pool which was a bit warmer.
As the evening came, the ship departed back to sea, and we were on our way back toward Port Canaveral. Our final night under normal circumstances would have been at the Royal Palace, but several of the group decided to have a more upscale dining experience with a meal at Palo. Since we were a larger group, we had our own space to dine together, giving a more exclusive feel than the restaurant itself already had.
Chelsea really did it up with the name plates for our meals, but this was my favorite as she created little replicas of the signs you see on top of the Jungle Cruise boats. When you see the signs on the attraction, it involves the name of a River from various parts of the world, like the Congo Connie, or the Amazon Annie. For the ones she created, so used different rivers in different parts of the world. In some cases it may have been one closer to their hometown. Now I feel like I need to go to the Godavari River if I get the chance to visit India, and take a picture of the name plate with the river in the background!
As for the meal, well like others served on the ship, it was delicious! Their menu is inspired by Northern Italian dishes, and I couldn't even begin to remember everything that we ate during this five-course meal, because some of the courses we arranged like a bit of a sampler of things to eat. I do recall having the filet steak (If you notice a lack of seafood in my choices, I'm not a big fan of it as I prefer land-based meats with the exception of salmon on occasion), and some kind of an orange flavored cake for dessert.
The important thing though is that it was excellent, and while it was a premium meal that required an additional cost on top of the cruise price, it was well worth it! Certain a great final dinner on-board while getting to enjoy excellent company of friends, both old and new.
The final activity of the last full day was the show "See Ya Real Soon", which involved a finally chance to meet & greet with various characters, and a sort of slide show that shared different pictures from experiences people had during this sailing. It's a fun way for Disney to put an exclamation point on the end of the story, and for the couple of the excursion, a great final memory of their special event as they sported their new shirts they bought on board.
Once the show ended, many of us went to the shops before they closed to see what they had to offer, and while I've kind of gotten to a point where I don't really buy souvenirs for myself, I saw this "My 1st Disney Cruise" pin with my favorite character, Dale (Chip's okay, but Dale's cooler!), and felt like I could at least have this one keep-sake.
At this point though, most everyone would just head back to the staterooms as the ship started rocking pretty good on the rough waters, and a few in our group were starting to get a bit sea sick from it. I don't think I had seen so many people look like they were drunk even without having one drink because of how far it would sway. Fortunately I don't really experience motion sickness, but trying to sleep on this night was interesting because I was laying inline with the rocking, so at times my head and feet would switch being higher than the other. It was a rather bizarre sensation to feel like a seesaw.
The next morning, it was time to depart the ship. We did get to have breakfast on board at the Royal Palace, although it is pretty chaotic when you have to bring all of your carry-on baggage with you as you try to find places to set it so it won't get in the way. After breakfast, it was back onto the shuttle to get into the cars for the caravan back to the Orlando area from Port Canaveral, meaning the cruise was officially done.
Being that this was my first cruise experience, I did find that I really enjoyed the convenience that comes from an experience like this, and it's nice to be able to see different places without having to take your stuff since your on the ship rather than a hotel. I had an old colleague from Disney World who once told me that once you experience a cruise, you'll never vacation any other way. I don't know that I would go that far, but I did enjoy it, and would gladly go for another, especially with Disney. The only downside of the 3-night cruise is that without a day at sea, you don't get a whole lot of time to try everything on board while also doing things at the different Ports of Call, so there was much I wish I could have tried out, so I guess that will be my excuse for a second sailing.
But this cruise was also special for the celebration of the marriage of two people I am incredibly happy to call my friends. I was truly honored to have been able to take part of this experience with them, and to make some new friends along the way. Thank you everyone who joined for a great time! Hopefully we'll have a chance to travel again sometime, and a special thank you to Chelsea and Jay for inviting me to be a part of their celebration!
While the cruise was finished, the trip wasn't yet over, as there was still just a bit more Disney Magic to experience before returning home to the Pacific Northwest.
Bonus: The Bride's Point of View for this experience:
Day Five -
Part One: Castaway Cay Part Two: Palo
Day Six - Debarkation and the Yacht Club
To follow Chelsea's full first-hand account of her wedding experience, along with all the planning details and helpful information for planning your own Disney Dream Wedding, check out her Twenty Something in Orlando Disney Dream Wedding Series!
See More of 2020 Disney Dream Wedding & More:
1: Universal Studios & Florida Strawberry Festival / 2: Hoop-Dee-Doo Ever After / 3: The Dream Begins /
4: A Morning in Nassau / 5: The Wedding / 6: Pirates Night & Fireworks at Sea /
7: Castaway Cay and the End of the Dream / 8: A Little More Disney Magic With New Attractions