It seems like forever since we've been away!  Of course, it hasn't been . . . it's only about two months since our last Disney trip, but we returned home to the end of a very cold and snowy winter that didn't want to end!  Early May is usually prime time for Carol's garden, but our harsh winter has pushed everything back by several weeks this year.  So this year the gardens are not tempting her to stay home - we are both very happy to get away!

 

We really enjoy cruising and we've been looking forward to this one because we'll be cruising with a great bunch of people.  It's the fourth time we've joined Deb Wills on an AllEars.net "group cruise" . . . and there's an added bonus - over a dozen good friends from Tagrel.com will be along!  So come join us as we strike out on our tenth adventure on Disney Cruise Line.  We hope you enjoy the trip!


May 6, 2014

 

We had a late afternoon flight out of Syracuse NY so we were able to enjoy a leisurely morning.  After coffee and the morning newspaper we actually started rolling.  By 9:45 we were showered and dressed, the luggage and the dogs were loaded in the car and we headed to Carol's parent's home.  They will be babysitting their grand-dogs for the next twelve days.

 

We left a pair of moping pups behind at 10:30 and headed to the border.  Gosh we like our new Nexus (TSA Trusted Traveller) cards.  When we pulled up to US Customs there must have been 75 cars waiting for the three lanes which were open.  There was no one at the lane designated for Nexus cardholders only.  We pulled up, handed over our cards and the officer asked, "Where are you going?  How long are you staying?  Have a good trip!"

 

Traffic was light and the weather was terrific.  The wind was cold but there wasn't a cloud in the sky; we made great time.

 

We pulled off at Cicero NY, just north of the Syracuse Airport at 12:30 and had a nice lunch at Cracker Barrel.  Then Carol had to visit the Christmas Tree Shop in nearby Mattydale - she filled a cart with hanging basket frames for the garden!

 

Bt 2:00 p.m. we were parked at the airport and had checked our bags at the Jet Blue counter.  Then it was time to clear security with TSA.  Once again those Nexus cards come into play.  They allow us to go through the TSA Pre-check line.  There was hardly anyone waiting - and in this line you do not have to take off your shoes and belt.  Much better than waiting in that huge line to be treated like a suspected terrorist!  Why didn't we apply for one sooner?

Our 3:43 flight left the gate about 5 minutes late and the flight was bumpy for the first ten minutes or so.  Things soon settled down though and we had a comfortable trip.  Carol watched a bit of TV and I read my book.

 

We landed in Orlando at 6:20, but we were so far out in the "back 40" that it seemed we were somewhere near Miami.  It took forever to taxi to the terminal . . . seriously . . . we taxied for about 15 minutes before we arrived at the loading bridge.  It was almost 8:00 before we had our luggage, picked up our rental car and left the airport behind!

 

We had planned to check-in at our resort and then take the boat to Downtown Disney for dinner at Earl of Sandwich, but we changed plans and drove straight to Earls.  Yum! 

Did you know that Earl's is directly across the sidewalk from the pin store?  Yup . . . I read my book while Carol traded and shopped.  Then we drove across to West Side, the other end of Downtown Disney where I sat in the car reading while my precious bride traded and bought Vinylmations at DStreet.  She was a happy shopper - she has already picked up everything on her list of requests from other people.

We finally arrived at Port Orleans French Quarter just before 10:00 p.m.  Check-in was quick and we settled into our room.  We were both tired after a long travel day - our plans for a swim and a soak in the hot tub have been deferred to another day!


May 7, 2014

 

There was no need to rush this morning, we had a 10:00 a.m. FastPass+ for The Tower of Terror and had hoped to sleep in.  That didn't work out - we were both up at 7:00 a.m.

 

I had a quick breakfast in the Port Orleans French Quarter food court and then we struck out for Disney Hollywood Studios. 

We were at the park when they opened the gates at 9:00 a.m.

We took a slow stroll through the shops on our way to Sunset Boulevard.  Carol went to the Villains in Vogue shop to trade Vinylmations while I took a few pictures.

Just seconds after I took the shot on the left our friend John Hayes rounded the corner and spotted me.  He was on his way to Tower of Terror to ride with some mutual friends.  John left to ride with his group.

Carol and I headed to the Animation Gallery to look at some of the new Ink & Paint cels.  Nothing caught her eye today - good thing too, we're very short on wall space at home!

We arrived at Tower of Terror a few minutes before our 10:00 a.m. FastPass+ time and while we waited along came John with his group, Karen, Todd, Krista and Flat Diane.  Diane often travels with Karen but she wasn't able to make this trip.  Instead, a flat replica of Diane is travelling in Karen's pocket!  Karen is holding Flat Diane in the picture!

After a chat and a few pictures they headed on their way; Carol and I took a wild elevator ride to The Twilight Zone.

 

Carol headed directly to the BAH (Big A$$ Hat) to check out the pins while I used the single rider line at GForce Records and took a spin on Rock 'N Roller Coaster with Aerosmith.

It wasn't yet time for our next FastPass+ so we detoured to One Man's Dream, a very nice tribute to Walt Disney.

By the time we made our way through the exhibits it was time for that 11:05 FastPass at Toy Story Midway Mania.  What a great ride; I jumped out to a quick lead . . . Carol was gaining ground at the end but I held on to squeeze out a victory!

By noon the heat was stifling.  I think we had already blown past the forecast of 91°.  We had a delicious sausage on a bun at Min & Bill's Dockside Diner on our way to the exit.

On our way back to the resort I dropped Carol off at the Character Outlet and waited a few minutes, reading in the car, while she shopped.  She was very quick, we also made quick stops at a liquor store and grocery store before arriving back at the hotel about 1:15.

 

We were both wilted from the heat, so we took a nice soothing dip in the pool followed by a siesta.  Aaah . . . that felt good!

By 3:30 we were back in the car, on our way to EPCOT.  We really enjoy the Flower & Garden Festival. 

Our first stop was the Wonders of Life Pavilion which serves as the Festival Center.  There were flowers everywhere and the orchids were amazing!

We made our way around Future World, snapping pictures of flowers and topiary all along the way.  It was still hot, hot, hot; we walked through Mouse Gear to enjoy a brief few minutes of air conditioning, then made our way past the floating flower pots on our trek to the International Gateway.

At the International Gateway, between Great Britain and France, we left the park and boarded a Friendship boat to The Beach Club.  At the dock we bumped into Audrey & Doug from Waterdown Ontario.  We met them on our last AllEars cruise - they were headed to Kouzzina for dinner.

We were seated at Beaches & Cream at 5:45 and had a very nice dinner, naturally it was followed by ice cream.

 

The sun was lower and temperatures had cooled by the time we finished dinner.  We rode the Friendship boat back to EPCOT and enjoyed more of the Flower & Garden Festival as we made our way toward exit.

We were back to our resort by 8:00 p.m. and settled in for a quiet night. 

 

After a lot of walking on a very hot day, sleep came quickly!


May 8, 2014

 

Once again, our plans to sleep in went awry.  Of course, I was just deluding myself, I seldom sleep past 7:00 a.m. and today was no different.  I tiptoed around so Carol could sleep . . . OK, I admit there was an occasional thud and bang, but it was pretty quiet in my opinion!  In any event, Carol was up by 8:00 and we started getting ready for our day at The Magic Kingdom.

 

I had a light breakfast in the food court and we were on the road by 9:30.  Yikes - it was already 82° under cloudless skies.  That's not a good sign!

We drove to Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground to catch a boat to the Magic Kingdom.  It was an odd feeling as we drove in, parked and caught one of the internal campground buses.  We spend a lot of time at "The Fort" so it felt as though we were home . . . but since we're staying elsewhere this trip it was it really wasn't home.  It was an odd, bittersweet moment.

Soon the internal bus dropped us off near Pioneer Hall and we caught a boat at the nearby dock.  By 10:15 we were through the turnstiles and walking up Main Street USA. 

 

We had no agenda until our 11:15 FP+ for lunch at Be Our Guest Restaurant, so we slowly made our way toward Fantasyland.  Carol shopped her way up Main Street and I moseyed along behind her.  We diverted to Liberty Square where she activated her Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom card and picked up a fresh batch of spell Cards.

We found a nice shady spot beside the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride and watched empty roller coaster trains roll past.  The construction walls have recently come down and the ride is scheduled to open May 28th.  We crossed our fingers and were hoping that they would have a "soft opening" and ask about 50 people nearby to take a test ride.  No such luck!  On two occasions we saw two cast members roll by in train cars - they were carrying stopwatches or Geiger counters.  I'm not sure what they were doing!

By 11:10 we had had enough heat.  We walked over to the restaurant and Carol checked us in.  We were a couple of minutes early but that made no difference.  They escorted us in immediately - that must have been frustrating for the 200 or more people who were waiting in the standby line hoping to get in for lunch. 

 

We sat in the Ballroom and had a terrific lunch.  For a real change of pace, Carol did not order the roast beef sandwich and I did not order the roast turkey sandwich.  I tried the Croque Monsieur and Carol ordered the roast turkey.  Hey . . . wait - that's MY SANDWICH!  We shared the sandwiches and they were both very tasty; but so big that we couldn't finish.  Most adults could share a lunch entree here!

After lunch we continued our slow stroll.  It was about 90° so we kept to the shade as much as possible while we made our way to Frontierland. 

A group of friends from the Tagrel.com site were meeting for lunch at Pecos Bill's.  We met them on the bridge in front of Splash Mountain and had a nice visit before they went off for lunch and we went off to ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  The breeze felt good as we raced around the track on the wildest ride in the wilderness!

As we left Frontierland on our way to our next FastPass+ in Tomorrowland Carol decided that she needed a citrus swirl.  We cut through a breezeway to Adventureland and she picked up a cup of frozen refreshment.  Alas, the line at Aloha Isle was just too long so I decided to forgo my pineapple float!  Maybe next time!

We arrived in Tomorrowland  too early for our FastPass+ at Buzz Lightyear so we took a ride on the WEDWay Peoplemover, snapping pictures all along the way!

By the time we exited the WEDWay it was time for Buzz.  This time I whupped Carol.  It was my turn, she humiliated me the last time.  Competitive?  No, not us . . . why would you think that?

When we came out of Buzz Lightyear the heat was oppressive.  Someone mentioned 93° but I think they were underestimating.  We bought a couple of bottles of ice-cold water and found a table in Tomorrowland Terrace, directly under a ceiling fan.  We waited in relative comfort for the 3:00 p.m. parade.

At about 2:30 we made our way to the hub, that big round area in front of Cinderella Castle.  They now rope off the area across the front of the hub and set it aside for people who book a FastPass+ for the parade.  How civilized!  We had wonderful sightlines and plenty of elbow room without having to camp out on the curb two hours ahead of time.  This was our first time seeing the new parade - it was great!

When the parade ended we snuck under a shady shrub in the hub and waited a few minutes for the crowd to disperse.  Then I made a beeline for City Hall where I waited on a shady park bench while the love of my life meandered through the Emporium admiring everything and buying nothing.

We boarded a boat back to the campground and as soon as we pulled away from the dock Carol sent a text message to our friends Al & Jane from Missouri.  They are camped at The Fort for a few months in their brand new coach and we were meeting them for dinner.  They picked us up at the dock in their golf cart and drove us to their campsite.  Wow - their new coach is a beauty.  It's a 37" diesel pusher and it's luxurious!  They have done a great job "Disneyfying" it.  These windows are just a small sample!

 

We had a nice visit at their campsite then moved on to a terrific dinner at Trail's End Buffet.  All four of us love Disney, camping and dogs and the ladies both collect Disney pins and Disneyana so there was never a lull in the conversation.

 

After dinner Al & Jane drove us to the Outpost where we had parked in the morning.  We headed for home where I had a nice soothing soak in the hot tub while Carol caught a boat to Downtown Disney where she indulged in some more shopping.


May 9, 2014

 

Once again, we were both up at 7:00.  We loitered over coffee in the room and I went to the food court for some breakfast.

 

We hopped in the car and set out for EPCOT at 9:15 - it was already 81°.

On our way to Soarin' we detoured through the butterfly garden and Carol took some great pictures.

WOW, it was hot in that butterfly habitat - the screening cut the breeze enough that the sun heated it up like an oven.

We met our gang at 10:00 a.m. and 11 of us took a group ride on Soarin'.  We filled the entire front row of the middle section.

Then we all adjourned to Electric Umbrella where we sat and visited for a while.

About 11:30 we struck out, with most of those friends, to wander around World Showcase, checking out the flowers and topiaries and of course we grazed at the food kiosks.

At Lotus House we enjoyed Spring Pancake with Grilled Chicken & Vegetable Spring Rolls.

At Primavera Kitchen we sampled Torta di ricotta.

We savoured Frushi at Hanami.

 

At Taste of Marrakesh we tried the Harissa chicken kabob with couscous.

Our friends Mike and Anne recommended the Gnocchi Parisien at Fleur de Lys.  They were right, it was delicious.  We also tried the Orange Macaroon which we agreed was tasty but too sweet for us.

At Buttercup Cottage we enjoyed a wonderful lemon scone.

Of course, we could not get past the Refreshment Port without having another  cronut.  Rather than share one, we had one each.  It's odd, but half a cronut is not enough, but a whole one is too much!

 

Carol stopped at Mouse Gear to trade a Vinylmation while I went straight to the car.  The A/C was cooling the car off nicely when she arrived and we headed home.  The pool wasn't even mentioned - it was too hot to swim.  We both had a soothing nap!  Aaahh!

 

By 4:30 we were back in the car headed to EPCOT.  It was still so hot we could barely breathe so we wandered slowly to Canada and lined up for the boat to Morocco.  As we waited we heard Off Kilter start their 5:00 p.m. set so we headed off to the stage.  Carol stopped to shop along the way.  There were no shady spots left when I arrived so I leaned against a stone wall in the blazing sun and listened to a few songs.  It wasn't long before I was overheating so I headed back toward the dock, looking for Carol all along the way.  I didn't see her and she wasn't at the dock.  I walked back to the stage, watching for her.  She was nowhere to be found!  I watched the end of Off Kilter's gig.  When they were done I looked around, still no sign of my dear bride.  I walked slowly back to the dock, still no sign of Carol.  Had she gone on ahead to The American Adventure?  I boarded the boat and headed that way.  As the boat passed Canada guess who I saw onshore looking for me?  I went out on the rear deck, yelled and waved at my sweet bride.  She spotted me immediately and I knew right away the kind of grief that was in my future!  Fortunately she was in a forgiving mood; it wasn't as bad as I expected!

We met at Morocco and headed off to the restaurant at America Gardens.  I had just finished a burger and Carol had a hot dog when a lady came up and said hello.  It was Carol O. from Frederick MD.  She and her sister both read our blog.  Here's a picture which will apparently make Carol's sister quite jealous!

After dinner we walked over to the America Gardens Theatre, met up with Karen and joined the line for the 6:45 p.m. Chubby Checker & the Wildcats show. 

It was a good show.  As always, I enjoyed it a lot more than Carol.  I'm an oldies fan while she prefers country.  Like all of us, Chubby is showing his 72 years but he still has his voice and he's still having fun!

 

By the time the concert was over we were pretty much done in.  A lot of walking and a lot of heat had worn us down.  We caught the last boat of the evening from Morocco to Canada, had a Sweet Potato Cinnamon Waffle with pineapple soft serve ice cream at Pineapple Promenade and then headed directly to the exit.

 

We were home by 8:30.  Carol packed while I played at the computer.


May 10, 2014

Port_Canaveral_Road_Sign

I was too excited to sleep this morning. I tossed and turned for a while, trying to fall back asleep, but finally surrendered at 6:15. I tried to be quiet so Carol could sleep - that meant that the banging and clattering was subdued, but of course there was still too much banging and clattering. Soon she was up too and we enjoyed a few cups of coffee in our room at Port Orleans French Quarter.

 

I had a quick breakfast at the Sassagoula Float Works food court and by 8:15 we were on the road headed to Port Canaveral. Saturday morning traffic was very light and we made terrific time across Route 528.

Disney_Fantasy

There is a special thrill as you climb a small rise, about two miles inland, when you get that first brief glimpse of the ship off in the distance. There it was! Just a minute later there was another hill and we had a much better view.

   

By 9:30 I had parked, unloaded the luggage, and left Carol and the baggage behind while I returned our rental car just a few miles down the highway. The terminal was bustling with activity as the returning cruisers disembarked to begin their trip home and the embarking cruisers checked in their luggage.

Mickey_Clock

Meeting_goof_friends

The Avis shuttle bus had me back at the terminal by 10:15 and it was time to say hello to some friends we had not seen in a while. There were so many familiar faces, people from previous AllEars cruises and people from Disney internet communities. We kept quite busy mingling and chatting until check-in opened at 10:45.

We entered the terminal, quickly cleared through the security check point and rode up the escalator to the main concourse. Once we arrived on the third floor we were among the first to check-in and get our Key to the World cards.

The_embarkation_door

Olaf

There were even a few Disney celebrities who dropped by to give us all a photo-op.

Captain_Mickey Minnie

Before we knew it was 11:30 and our boarding group was called to the loading bridge. Once aboard we made our way directly to The Enchanted Garden dining room on Deck 2 for lunch. We were joined by Dave and Brenda from Maryland, Masayo from Japan and Gail from Nevada.

Carol_Masayo_and_Gail

Lunch_group

After a nice lunch we all caught the elevator to Deck 4 and checked in at D Lounge where both AllEars and Mouse Fan Travel had reception desks set up.

Once we had all of our information, credentials and swag, Carol and I headed up to Deck 9 to find our stateroom. It was ready and our bags were sitting directly outside the door. Carol got right to work unpacking and getting us settled in for the week while I set up our internet connection.

Linda_and_Melanie

On_the_verandah

As Carol was decorating our stateroom door our Cabin Steward, Ekarat from Thailand, stopped to introduce himself and see if there was anything we needed. Service is always first-class on Disney ships!

Before we knew it the emergency whistles sounded announcing the compulsory lifeboat drill. We headed to our assembly point, the Buena Vista Theatre on Deck 5 and joined the assembled throng as they demonstrated how to don your lifejacket. Soon the mandatory ritual was over and we headed to Deck 12 where we joined the AllEars.net group for the spirited and lively Sail-Away Party.

Carol_waves_the_AllEars_sign

Singing_and_dancing

We watched from the rail on Deck 12 as families below us on Deck 11 danced and sang along with Disney characters and cast members.

James_and_Linda Deck_party

Richard_Colin_and_Beci

It's always a fun-filled time . . . but tonight, when the ship whistle sounded "When You Wish Upon A Star" at about 4:45 we were still at the dock. It was about 5:20 when we pushed away from the pier and began our journey.

 

Many had already left the upper decks when Carol and I unfurled the Canadian flag and held it against the rail for our family who were watching at home on the Port Canaveral webcam. Most of the people in our group were texting friends who were watching the webcam, saying, "I'm beside the Canadian flag!" As we passed the camera at Fish Lips Bar & Grill some of them started receiving pictures of the ship on their cell phones - there we were with the flag! Cool!

We stayed at the rail until we reached the end of the jetty where AllEars blogger Kristin Ford and her two children were waving frantically. We were equally frantic as we waved back!

Kristen

Dinner_group

By the time we had left the harbour it was dinner time. We all rushed down to Deck 2 for our 5:45 dinner at Enchanted Garden. Our dinner-mates are Masayo from Japan and Gail from Nevada. We had known them both from previous Disney trips and previous cruises. It was nice to catch up with them over a delicious meal. Our server is Tanapong (Tana) from Thailand and our assistant server is Jelena from Serbia.

After dinner we visited with some of the surrounding tables of AllEars cruisers before heading up to our stateroom. Before long Masayo called and dropped off some very special items she had brought us from Tokyo Disneyland! Thanks Masayo! The three of us headed off to the Walt Disney Theatre to watch the "Fantasy Come True" stage production. We have seen this particular show several times, but it never gets old . . . talented cast members and lively Disney characters combine to deliver an engaging story. The song and dance numbers and the broadway-style staging are professional quality and, of course, it's all geared for the entire family!

 

It was another day of travel, followed by plenty of activity in the sun and fresh air. After the show the three of us headed back to our staterooms for a quiet night.

 

Tomorrow we will have a relaxing day at sea . . . come on back and see what we've been up to!


May 11, 2014

 

Carol and I have found that we never sleep past 7:00 a.m. while we're cruising, so she always orders room service coffee for 7:00 a.m. It arrived on time, as always, and this time she included a few small pastries. We were booked for brunch at Palo and the pastries were intended to tide me over until noon. The strategy worked well, by noon I was ravenous!

 

I headed up to the Cove Café on Deck 11 at 7:45 for the AllEars.net Cawfee Tawk meet scheduled for 8:00; Carol followed about a half hour later. We stood, sipped coffee and yakked, renewing acquaintances, for over an hour. There were plenty of familiar faces from past cruises and some newcomers as well. It's really quite easy to mix and mingle when we all share a love of all things Disney.

The_Cove_Cafe

The_Cove_Cafe

Carol and I left at about 9:20 and went back to our stateroom for a few minutes before heading down to The Tube, a lounge on Deck 4 Aft, for the Castaway Club Reception for Gold and Platinum members.

Castaway_Club_Reception

Carol_and_I_with_Mickey

There were complimentary cocktails and finger foods; Cruise Director Ray thanked us for our continued loyalty to Disney Cruise Lines, then the guest of honor arrived - Captain Mickey. He posed for pictures with everyone as all the senior crew members mingled with Castaway Club members.

Masayo_with_Mickey

Milton_and_Michelle_with_Mickey

After the reception we scurried back to our cabin to get dressed for our brunch at Palo. On our way to brunch we met Minnie!

Minnie

At_Palo

We really enjoy this upscale dining experience at Palo. There is a wonderful array of Mediterranean cuisine and the service is always outstanding. Our server, Jessyca from Peru, was superb. We had a very enjoyable experience. The food and the service were top notch! It was 2:00 p.m. when we finished.

We changed back into more casual clothes for the 2:30 p.m. Ice Cream Social on Deck 11. Ice Cream Social has become a bit of a misnomer.

Nancy_and_Mary_Jean_with_ice_cream

Trading_AllEars_cards

While everyone spends a few minutes enjoying ice cream, most folks spend far more time trading those highly coveted AllEars Trading Cards. There is a series of 66 different cards, each with a Disney themed picture and story. Each cruiser received a packet of 66 cards with their welcome gift, but the 66 cards were not the complete set, they were multiples of only a few cards in the set. In order to get a complete set, they had to find other cruisers in our group, compare cards and trade to fill blanks in each collection. The Ice Cream Social quickly became a spirited trading session!

How spirited was it? A certain gentleman from Ohio stole the entire collection of a lady from Maryland. Don't feel too bad for her, the collection was recovered and returned to her . . . and I have reason to believe that the gent from Ohio may have been framed!

Trading_AllEars_cards

Two_Goofy_guys

Cuba passed by on our Port side as trading continued until 3:45, when the heat and humidity finally drove us indoors. Once again we were worn out and we took a well earned nap!

 

We were up and dressed for dinner by 4:45. It was formal night and there were plenty of photographers set up in the Atrium, so we struck out to stalk some characters. Yikes - the lines were huge! We managed to find Goofy at Preludes and his line was relatively short.

Our dinner was in the Royal Court, Deck 3 Midship. It was very nice, I enjoyed baked brie, French onion soup, lobster macaroni while Carol had a lobster and shrimp appetizer, French onion soup and Chateaubriand. We both had creme brulee for dessert. Every dish was outstanding. This was probably the best meal we have ever had in the regular dining rotation.

Photo-bombed_by_Deb

There was plenty to talk about during the meal. Carol and Gail began to compare their Disney collections. One would say, "I have quite a few Disney Classic Collection pieces." The other would reply, "Me too!" Or, "I collect Disney buttons." "Me too. I have them all organized displayed in frames." It went on and on and on. There two ladies certainly have similar interests!

 

We sat talking for so long that we were among the very last to leave the dining room. Cast members were setting up tables for the 8:15 seating and began flashing the lights to urge us to leave. It worked!

 

We went back to our cabin and changed into more casual clothes before heading down to Deck 4 Aft. AllEars cruisers were meeting at La Piazza for cocktails at 9:15. A good number of our group were there and we had a very nice time chatting over drinks. We left the camera behind, so there are no incriminating pictures.

 

Carol and I rushed away at 11:00 to catch the adult show in the Walt Disney Theatre. It was a hilarious hypnosis show by Ricky Kalman. He used about a dozen volunteers from the audience to keep us in stitches. The highlight of the performance was cruiser Craig who thought he was the world's foremost hand puppet performer. He was convinced that each of his hands held a puppet and he sang a stirring rendition of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody as the puppets mimed the words! We roared with laughter.

 

It was midnight when we returned to our stateroom and hit the sack after a fun filled day at sea.


May 12, 2014

 

Carol woke me as she got out of bed . . . at 6:00 a.m. We set our clocks back last night and gained an hour, but we didn't reset our minds, so we awoke at our normal time. Carol dashed up to Deck 11 and brought back coffee which we sipped on our veranda as we watched Cozumel appear through the mist!

Cozumel_in_the_distance

Nearing_the_Cozumel_wharf

We had no excursions booked for the day, it was time to enjoy the ship while everyone else was ashore. Carol left at 8:45 and dashed up the wharf to the first jewelry store. She bought a "silver" necklace when we were here last October. It turned out to be something other than sliver and my sweet bride was determined to get satisfaction. I was a skeptic, but she came back smiling and bearing a similar necklace clearly stamped as genuine sterling silver. Sure hope it is . . . or that vendor won't know what hit him the next time my tornado is in town!

The_Fantasy

When Carol left, I went to Cabanas for a bite of breakfast and then went directly to the Cove Café where I sat outside reading my book. It seemed like no time until a friend passed and said, "Carol is looking for you in Cabanas." I joined her and sat as she had a light snack and showed me the new necklace.

Satellite_Falls

We went directly to Deck 13 Forward and found a pair of comfy chairs in the shade at Satellite Falls. This has become our favorite "Adult Only" spot on the ship. Most passengers have not discovered it and it's remarkably peaceful. Friends Susan, Pam, Nancy, Margaret and Tom spent a good part of the day there as well. There is a shallow pool built around the bottom of the dome which you see in the photograph on the left.

There is a 360° bench seat around the interior of the pool and the water covers the seat to a depth of several inches. As you sit with your butt and legs in the pool a cooling shower falls from the ring above you. The simulated raindrops fall about where your toes are when you stretch you legs out fully. You are surrounded by the "backside of water" and the ocean breeze carries a light cooling mist from the rainfall. If you prefer, you can stretch out with your back against the wooden slats that line the exterior of the pool and fully immerse yourself. It's a pretty blissful place. We need to make sure it remains undiscovered. Please don't tell anyone about Satellite Falls . . . mum's the word!

Carol left at 10:45 for her "Pamper Package" at Senses, the shipboard spa. The package included a 50 minute Full Body Massage, a Foot & Ankle Massage, an Indian Scalp Massage and a 25 minute Booster Facial.

Senses

I sat reading, periodically dunking in the pool to cool off. When Carol rejoined me at Satellite Falls she looked well oiled and fully relaxed.

 

We relaxed for another half hour or so and then went in search of food! After a nice lunch at Cabanas we made our way back to Satellite Falls and spent another slothful hour.

Aqua_Duck

Then it was time for the Aqua Duck.

It's a giant waterslide which takes you out over the ocean as you wind your way down two decks to the splash-down zone. Great fun!

Aqua_Duck

Sailing_away

We were back to our stateroom at 2:30 - SNORE!

 

We sat on our veranda and watched as we pushed away from the wharf at Cozumel at 4:30 p.m. and began our overnight journey to Grand Cayman.

Then it was time to head off to Deck 3 Aft for dinner at Animator's Palate. We encountered Minnie Mouse along the way so naturally we stopped for a picture!

Carol_and_Gary_with_Minnie

Dinner_at_Animator's_Palate

The characters from Finding Nemo performed during our dinner.

Crush was the emcee for the evening and he picked Carol and I to co-star in the show. I learned how to speak "Whale" and then told Carol, "I adore you Carol." in that loud and eerie whale drawl.

Crush

Dory

I must have done well because the entire dining room was chanting GA-RY GA-RY GA-RY. It was quite a stirring evening!

After dinner we wandered through the shops on Deck 3 and I waited while Carol traded some pins and Vinylmations, then we returned to our stateroom. I spent some time putting this blog together while she wandered the halls dropping off "fish extender" items for our friends.

 

About 9:00 we wandered down to the adult entertainment area in search of playmates. We ended up at Skylines where we both enjoyed a cocktail with a small group of our fellow AllEars cruisers. We left just before 11:00, heading toward the Walt Disney Theatre. Along the way we met Fran and Carol who joined us for the Shawn Farquar magic show. We have seen Shawn perform before and we were once again intrigued and mystified by his sleight of hand.

 

The show ended just after 11:30 and we made our way home to fall into bed.


May 13, 2014

 

It was a wasted day. A gloriously wasted day. This was exactly the kind of day we hope to have during a cruise!

 

For Carol and I, the cruise is not about the ports of call and the excursions. For us, it's all about the ship-board experience. It's about being pampered . . . it's all about the people we are cruising with. We enjoy cruising with friends or as part of a group. And we especially enjoy having the ship almost to ourselves when everyone else goes ashore in the ports. This was one of those very quiet days when everyone else was off enjoying some sort of shore adventure.

I awoke at 6:00 a.m. but Carol showed no inclination to get out of bed. I grabbed the camera and headed up to Decks 12 and 13 to take some pictures before other passengers began to stir.

Adult_pool

The adult pool on Deck 11, in front of the Cove Café.

Small_Adult_pool

The small adult pool on Deck 12 above the Cove Café.

Satellite_Falls

Satellite Falls on Deck 13 Forward. Notice the shaded area full of

 deck chairs on the right. There are more deck chairs in full

sunlight on the left.

Rain_clouds

There were very dark clouds on the northern horizon at 6:25, and

two visible storm cells where it was raining heavily.

Aqua_Duck

This photo shows the area where the Aqua Duck water slide takes

riders out beyond the ship's rails and over the ocean!

Donald_in_the_stack

Donald seems to have had a mishap beside the spot where the

Aqua Duck passes through the forward stack.

Children's_slide

The children's slide beside the Mickey pool.

Family_pools

The family pools on Deck 11 with the Funnel

Vision screen in the background.

Aqua_Lab

The Aqua Lab splash zone on Deck 12.

I moved indoors for a few minutes. Here is a sample of the decor in the main atrium at Midship.

Atrium_chandelier

The chandelier highlights the peacock theme.

Peacock_tail_feathers

The peacock theme continues with the spray of tail feathers

at the bottom of the grand staircase.

Peacock_in_grille-work

Even the metal grille-work features peacocks!

Shutters

The photo studio, Shutters, is on Deck 4 Midship. There are a number of racks like the one pictured. The racks contain folders, one folder per cabin, and all photos taken by Disney photographers magically appear in the correct folder.

Deck 4 is the promenade deck, with a walking/running track. Two and a half laps equals one mile!

Running_track

Heading_to_Grand_Cayman

It was almost 7:00 a.m. and I knew my princess would be stirring and looking for her coffee. I picked up some java on Deck 11 and headed back home. We savored coffee on our veranda and soon decided to head to Cabanas for breakfast. None of our playmates were there. We thought that was odd! It wasn't until later in the day that we were reminded - all of our friends from Tagrel.com had met for breakfast at The Royal Court. We were supposed to be there but we completely forgot! We're both very sorry Karen, chalk it up to a "senior's moment".

Grand Cayman was a faint dark line on the horizon as we toured the upper decks, snapping photos on our way to Satellite Falls.

Carol_at_the_Rail

Grand_Cayman_on_the_horizon

I settled in a shaded chair at 9:15 and spent over 5 hours alternately soaking in Satellite Falls and relaxing with my book. Carol stayed a few minutes then headed off to Senses for her spa treatment.

Anchored_beside_us Grand_Cayman
Grand_Cayman

We were anchored at Grand Cayman by 10:00 a.m. and it wasn't long before tenders arrived to shuttle passengers back and forth to the island. I continued to relax on Deck 13.

Tenders Tender

Carol enjoyed the Bliss Treatment which lasted 75 minutes and included a Hot Stone Back Massage, a Foot and Ankle Massage, a Scalp Massage and a Hydrating Facial. She said the name was appropriate, it really was bliss!

 

Carol rejoined me at about 11:00; it wasn't long before Nancy, Pam and Susan arrived to remind us we missed breakfast. Dang!

 

We grazed around the food counters near the pools on Deck 11, chicken fingers and tuna wraps were the favorites!

Mulan_on_Tunnel_Vision

Aqua_Duck

It was close to 2:00 p.m. when we decided we had about all the heat we could stand. We stopped along the way for another plunge on the Aqua Duck. There was no line - absolutely no one in front of us.

We marched straight up the stairs, flopped into our tubes and slipped and slid to our splash-downs on deck 12.

Aqua_Duck

Royalty

I had a nice snooze while Carol did some laundry. Before we knew it, it was time for dinner so we headed out in search of characters. There weren't many out and the lines were long so we settled for a picture of my princess on her throne.

Dinner was once again in the Enchanted Garden, in the same booth seat we shared Saturday evening.

Enchanted_Garden

Carol_and_Gary_with_Donald

After dinner we headed back to the stateroom for a half hour, then went searching for some playmates to have a drink before the 10:30 show in The Tube Lounge. We encountered Donald Duck along the way!

Dave and Brenda, from Maryland, were not too far behind us in the line for a picture with Donald!

Dave_and_Brenda_with_Donald

On our way back to the Tube, Dave, Brenda, Carol and I bumped into Fran and Carol. We all headed to Skylines for a cocktail. When we arrived, there were Deb, Linda, James & Linda, so we joined them.

 

After a quick drink and a few laughs it was time to head to The Tube for the comedy and ventriloquism of Kevin Johnson. We have seen his show before . . . as we left I decided to be gracious and said to Carol, "He was OK but . . . " She said, "No he was not OK- it was bad!" She was right, it was a poor show.

 

We were back to our cabin by 11:30 and soon nodded off to sleep!


May 14, 2014

 

We finally slept until our normal 7:00 a.m. Everything was peaceful and quiet; we were docked at Falmouth, Jamaica.

Carol went to Deck 11 and picked up coffee which we enjoyed on our veranda as we looked out over this scenic town on the north shore of the island.

Falmouth_Jamaica

Routine_maintenance

As soon as the ship docks the crew scurries to start routine maintenance jobs. In the photo below you see a lifeboat lowered on its davits for maintenance while a worker hangs in a basket overhead spraying rust protection on susceptible areas.

We had a nice breakfast at Cabanas and then strolled the upper decks snapping pictures of our surroundings. A Royal Caribbean ship, the Freedom of the Seas, arrived soon after we awoke, turned around in front of us and backed into the other side of the wharf.

Falmouth_Jamaica

The sun and humidity drove us indoors where we spent some time walking the halls completing our group trivia quiz. James, one of our fellow cruisers, developed a very challenging list of Disney Cruise Line trivia questions to help keep us busy all week!

The_port_at_Falmouth

Soon it was time to disembark so we headed to D Lounge on Deck 4 Midship. Our 11:15 departure group met there and we were led onshore right on time. It appears to be a brand new port area, everything is fresh and new, but of course it features the same jewelry shops seen in all other Caribbean ports!

After a short walk through the port area Carol, Nancy and I boarded our bus and began the short trip into the mountains to the Good Hope Estate.

The_bus_ride

Good_Hope

A tour guide on the bus pointed out some of the highlights along the way, such as the school for tour guides and the water filtration plant!

The Good Hope Estate is very picturesque and has an interesting history. The Great House was built in 1755 as a wedding gift for the 19-year old woman who was marrying the owner's son. The bride only lived 7 years and was buried inside the house. There are many activities at Good Hope, including zip lines, carriage rides, rafting, tubing, a playground for children and of course, the high tea we had signed up for.

Carriage_ride

Zip_line

We toured the property, dodging brief rain showers.

Flowers Veranda
Drawing_room Blue_room

Then Carol snapped pictures of some amazing long-tailed hummingbirds before we were seated for high tea.

Good_Hope_buildings

Sitting_for_tea

Having_tea

The service was good, but the food was disappointing; the scenery made up for any disappointment though. During the meal Carol kept darting outside to capture pictures of flowers and more hummingbirds.

Beautiful_vista

Hummingbird

Hummingbird

We caught a 2:00 p.m. shuttle bus back to the port where I spotted this unusual sign. Look very closely at that arrow!

Disney cruisers must be smarter than those on other cruise lines . . . Disney doesn't use this sort of sign to tell guests they're going the wrong way!

Tours_this_way

Back_at_the_port

Red_Stripe

I relaxed with a frosty Red Stripe beer while Nancy and Carol caroused the shops.

We were back aboard the ship at 2:45. After a hot and sticky time ashore in Jamaica, Satellite Falls sounded like the best place to be, so we dropped everything in our cabin and headed up for a relaxing soak! Aaaah!

 

At dinner the previous night, Brenda from Maryland dreamed up a great little fundraising idea to support Deb Wills' charity, the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. Brenda volunteered Melanie for hair-braiding. Those of us in the AllEars Cruise group were given the opportunity to contribute and Melanie would get one braid for every $5.00 contributed. We pretty quickly kicked in enough to buy 51 braids. Isn't that great team spirit? We were on Deck 11 at 3:30 p.m. as Melanie sat down in the chair to begin!

First_braids

Braiding_is_finished

After a few braids were completed we headed to our stateroom to cool off, it was a steamy day out! After a refreshing nap we headed back to Deck 11 and returned just in time to watch as the last few braids were completed. After 44 braids Melanie had run out of hair! The finished product look great and the process raised $300.00 . . . isn't Melanie a good sport?

Once the braiding was done, shortly after 5:00 p.m., Carol and I hurried back to our cabin to dress for dinner. We had been invited by Beci from Mouse Fan Travel to join her for dinner in the private dining area at Palo. The group included Beci and Annette, Deb and Linda, Janine and her mother Shirley, Colin and Richard, Dave and Brenda and Carol and I. There is just no better combination than good friends, good food and good drink. When this combination comes together in opulent surroundings such as Palo, magic sometimes happens. This was one of those magical times! Our server, Cindy from England, joined in the revelry with us and by the end of the evening we all had sore ribs - brought on by all the laughter.

Chocolate_Soufle

Panna_cota

What a wonderful time! Thanks to Beci for inviting us, and thanks to all for sharing so much laughter with us!

 

We tore ourselves away from Palo at 10:30 and decided to head to Deck 12 where the Pirate Night party was in full swing. We met Masayo and Gail and watched the stage show and fireworks with them, then stayed, leaning on the top rail as we watched the dance party below us on Deck 10.

Masayo_and_Gail

Deck_12 Captain_Jack_Sparrow
2014_May_Fireworks

It was 11:30 when we headed below deck to our stateroom. We turned our clocks ahead one hour, making it 12:30 a.m., and fell into bed!


May 15, 2014

 

This morning we woke at 7:15. Cuba was visible through the haze on the western horizon and Haiti was just out of sight beyond the eastern horizon.

I brought coffee back from Deck 11 and we enjoyed it on our veranda as we watched the Caribbean, and a few container ships, roll past. What a nice way to begin the day!

Container_ship

Cawfee_tawk

Deb Wills was hosting Cawfee Tawk at the Cove Café, It has become a tradition for AllEars cruisers to meet for coffee on "sea days". We stood and yakked for an hour and a quarter.

Carol and I, along with a few others, enjoyed looking through the wonderful "memory books" Deb and Linda brought along. One described their Adventures By Disney trip to Scotland last year and the other covered their beautiful wedding in Hawaii just a few months ago. It was a real treat to leaf through the photo journals and share such sweet memories with two wonderful women.

 

Cawfee_tawk

At 10:00 we headed aft on Deck 11 to Cabanas where Carol had orange juice and a light snack while I had breakfast.

Cabanas

 Cabanas

Back at our cabin Carol changed into her bathing suit and struck out to Satellite Falls, I stayed behind to write and publish another day of the blog for AllEars.

 

I joined Carol on Deck 13 just before noon and we alternated dunking and scorching for a few hours.

Satellite_Falls

Carol had lunch at Cabanas and brought me back a nice snack from Flo's V/8 Café. I ate at poolside.

 

By 2:00 p.m. we were both hot and tired; we headed home where I napped. Once Carol was cooled down she headed off shopping. She bought a new Dooney purse and checked our pictures at Shutters before she came home to do her final preparations for the afternoon Pin Trading session.

Barrie_directs_traffic

We left at 3:15 and headed to The Tube on Deck 4 Aft. Deb Wills had provided about 100 pins and Carol was running the trading board for the hour long event.

All the pins were displayed on a cork board and traders lined up for the opportunity to trade two pins.

The_Pin_board

Trading_pins

There was an initial flurry of trading for the first 15 minutes, followed by sporadic trading for the rest of the hour.

Trading those highly coveted AllEars Trading Cards was the really popular activity.

Trading_cards

Trading_Cards

Tables full of cards were scattered throughout the lounge and traders wandered from table to table striking deals as they tried to complete their sets.

Trading_Cards

Trading_Cards

At about 4:45 we headed home to change for dinner. It was semi-formal night at Royal Court. I put on long pants for the occasion!

With_Goofy

Royal_Court_dinner

Dinner was great, at least mine was. I ordered parmesan crusted chicken with fettuccini, Carol ordered lobster. Her lobster was OK . . . not great, just OK. I couldn't finish all of my chicken and she was quick to gobble up the leftovers.

Back in the stateroom after dinner we discovered some new towel art - the best one of this cruise!

Towel_art

La_Piazza

I relaxed while Carol started to pack. Yes, unfortunately our adventure was drawing to a close. The following day we would be at Castaway Cay and the next day we would disembark and head home. Boo - Hiss!

 

At 9:15 we struck out for La Piazza on Deck 4 Aft; the AllEars cruisers were meeting for cocktails. There was plenty of chatter and laughter, I even saw a few AllEars Trading Cards change hands!

La_Piazza

La_Piazza

La_Piazza La_Piazza

La_Piazza

Tom_and_Margaret

Shortly after 10:00 p.m. many of us made our way next door to The Tube where Buckets 'N Boards were scheduled to play at 10:30.

Buckets_'N_Boards

This talented duo use various sizes of plastic buckets as drums, they tap dance, they sing, they play ukuleles, they play propane cylinders . . . and they do it all with a huge amount of energy and plenty of humor. It was hilarious!

Buckets_'N_Boards

Buckets_'N_Boards

Buckets_'N_Boards

Once again our ribs were sore as we headed to bed at 12:15.

May 16, 2014

 

Carol had ordered room service coffee for 7:00 a.m. so we were up and moving at 6:50. It was so calm and quiet that I thought we must be docked at Castaway Cay. Carol stepped out on the veranda and told me we were still at sea, sailing slowly. There was no sign of the Disney island from our veranda.

 

By the time our coffee arrived at 7:10 we had spotted land and before we knew it the bridge had activated the thrusters to spin the ship around and back us into our berth.

Nearing_Castaway_Cay

Nearing_Castaway_Cay

I'm not sure I'd be comfortable spinning something this big and backing it up.

Turning_the_ship

Backing_in

Backing_in

Carol left before we were moored, she was heading to D Lounge to meet with the early debarkation group. Those who have signed up for the 5K run/walk get off first and are escorted to the 5K course. I stayed behind and spent some time preparing and uploading the daily blog for AllEars.net.

Castaway_Cay

Castaway_Cay

About 9:00 a.m. I headed up to Deck 11 and had breakfast at Cabanas, then wandered the ship taking a few more pictures. A sea gull photo-bombed me. Do you see the gull on the left?

Before I knew it, it was 10:30, time to go ashore to meet Carol. As I stepped off the elevator on Deck 1, I met Brenda. She was heading out to connect with her husband Dave who also did the 5K. As Brenda and I made our way toward the tram we met Barrie. The three of us rode the tram to Serenity Bay.

Brenda_and_Daisy

The_Airstrip

Relaxing_on_the_shore

Carol and Audrey were sitting with their toes in the Caribbean when we arrived. That's Fran and Carol out in the water.

We sat along the shore, with the waves lapping at our feet as Carol told me about the 5K course she had walked in the heat and humidity. She walked with friends Nancy, Karen and Susan and they all gave each other some moral support as they did their best to cope with the heat. Carol has been walking at home as much as possible, trying to get ready for the Castaway Cay 5K. She takes our Shetland Sheepdog Blue for a fast paced circuit of 2 1/2 kilometers on the walking trails near our home. Blue will be very proud of his Mommy!

Line_for_lunch

At 11:30 we made our way over to Cookies II where our AllEars.net cruisers were meeting for lunch. There was a good turnout and we had a nice meal. The only downside was the downpour that happened just after Carol and I went through the line and picked up our lunch.

We were thankful to be seated under and umbrella when the skies opened up . . . even then we got wet, but not nearly as wet as those standing out in the open. It rained hard for about 10 minutes and then the rain cloud passed.

Janice_and_Randy

Flowers

Carol heard the tram approach at about 12:45 and we dashed off to catch it for a return trip to the Fantasy. Naturally Carol had to stop and take pictures of all the flowers along the way!

Flowers

Flowers

Of course we had to stop at Mount Rustmore.

Mount_Rustmore

The_Fantasy

Olaf

Just before we boarded we snapped a picture of Carol with her new 5K bling as she stood at a scenic spot with the Disney Fantasy in the background!

Bling

We were back aboard at 1:15, still hot and sticky. We changed into our bathing suits and headed to Deck 11 for a soak in the adult pool in front of the Cove Café. The water was quite warm, in the mid to high 80's, but when we got out the breeze felt nice and cool. Carol was smiling as she showed me her goose bumps!

 

We headed back to our Stateroom shortly after 2:00 p.m. I napped while Carol did some more packing. By 3:45 we had showered and made our way to Shutters to finish selecting our pictures. We quickly settled on the 10 images we wanted to purchase, paid for them and Carol took them to the stateroom.

 

When she came back to the atrium we noticed a lot of blue shirts . . . that means characters are coming! I asked one of the blue shirts what was going on. He said, "It's the Farewell Party, all of the characters are coming in about 5 minutes." Carol had mentioned earlier in the day that we had no pictures with Pluto or Daisy. I asked him, "Where will Pluto be?" He told me exactly where to stand and we were first in line when the characters appeared.

Pluto

Pluto

Daisy

Then we found Daisy.

Chip and Dale were an unexpected bonus!

Chip_and_Dale

AllEars_Farewell_Reception

Then it was time to head for D Lounge on Deck 4 for the AllEars Farewell Party. This was our last get-together, the wrap-up of our group cruise. We mingled and chatted over hors d'oeuvres and wine for a few minutes before the function was called to order.

Deb Wills had contributed an amazing table full of Disney paraphernalia as raffle prizes. Prizes were handed out for the Door Decorating Contest, the Trivia Challenge, the first to acquire a full set of AllEars Trading Cards, and a few other "spoof" awards. Then the raffle began. Those in our group received a raffle ticket for each and every meet they attended and those tickets were drawn randomly for prizes. As it turned out, there was a prize for everyone and everyone was a winner!

Prize_table

Deb_and_Melanie

Carol was a big winner, she won a $100 Gift Card provided by our good friends at Mouse Fan Travel. The Grand Prize, also courtesy of Mouse Fan Travel was a there day stay at a Disney resort, including park hopper tickets and the dining plan.

 

I'd like to extend a big thank you, from Carol and I, to everyone who made this trip such a resounding success. Deb, Linda, Melanie and Barrie from the AllEars team took care of the social aspects of the trip.

Mouse Fan Travel took care of all the travel arrangements and had four representatives onboard, Beci, Annette, Colleen and Sandy, who worked with Disney Cruise Line to ensure that out trip was filled with magic. Thanks to one and all!

The_Mouse_Fan_Travel_Team

Animator's_Palate

The Farewell Party concluded at 5:45 and we all hustled off to Animator's Palate for our final dinner aboard the Fantasy. This was the night when we all drew characters on our placemats and then saw them come to life and dance later in the evening.

Animator's_Palate

Animator's_Palate

The dining room is filled with some awesome technology. Not only do the paintings on the walls come to life from time to time, showing classic scenes from Disney movies. Then, all those sketches on our place mats come to life and dance, boogie and skate across the screens. The new generation of Animator's Palate is a unique experience. It's still amazing after the third time we've seen it!

 

After dinner we said our bittersweet farewells. We're ready to go home, we're missing our dogs . . . but it's tough to say goodbye to friends. Of course, we'll see many of them again at some other AllEars function.

 

We were back to our cabin by 9:00 and put our two large suitcases out in the hall for pick-up.


May 17, 2014

 

The trip home is always so anticlimactic . . . and it seems to take so long . . . why can't Scottie just beam us up?

 

We were up at 6:00 a.m. and I went for a quick bite at Cabanas.  Carol and I were among the first to disembark at 7:00 a.m.; the customs officer saw our Nexus cards, smiled and said, "Have a nice day, you're good to go!"  Sure do like those cards! 

 

We were using Disney transportation so we won't see our two big suitcases until we land in Syracuse.  We headed straight to the nearby Disney bus, and in just a few minutes it whisked us to the airport.  We passed through the TSA Pre-chek line and by 8:15 we had cleared security . . . a full four hours before our 12:20 p.m. flight time.  Thankfully I had my book!

 

We took off about 25 minutes late but they made up the time during the flight and we landed in Syracuse right on schedule. From there it was a quick two-hour drive home,  we were reunited with some very happy dogs by 6:00 p.m.

 

It was a terrific trip.  Both Carol and I really enjoy cruising as part of a group.  The camaraderie and the group activities always add to the fun for us.  We're not exactly sure when we'll sail again, Carol has two "placeholder" cruises booked for us but we have no idea how or when we might use them. 

 

But don't worry, we'll definitely be sailing again . . . the only thing in question is when it will be!