We woke up around 7:00 on Monday morning, still a little bit tired but excited to start the day! Of course, it wouldn't be morning on a Disney property for us without an "Old Mickey" cartoon and a little snuggling in bed!
We also had a pre-breakfast snack of "fish." (Well, Emmy called them fish but they were actually Mickey Mouse shaped cheese crackers that we found inside the "Castaway Club" backpack that had been left in our room as a welcome back gift for me!!) One of the neat things about the Disney boat is that you can bring your own snacks and bottled water (and even wine!) on board. Each room is equipped with a mini fridge, too! The fridge made it so easy for us to have milk for Emmy and water for the rest of us right on hand.
We put on our bathing suits in preparation for our excursion to Blue Lagoon Island in Nassau.
Once everyone was ready, we headed straight to the breakfast buffet! We were getting closer and closer to land, so we made sure to pick a table by the window. And then we proceeded to eat like we would never see another meal again.
The wait staff in the casual dining areas were so friendly! This man made Harris and Hadley "napkin rats..." and my kids seriously kept them for two days. They loved those things. Hadley even brought her "napkin rat" to meet Mickey Mouse one evening!
After breakfast, we headed up to the top deck to watch as the Dream reached the Bahamas. It's amazing how beautiful the water is. Mom had been to Nassau once before on a high school trip and recalled that when she last sailed in, there were children treading water around the boat and she and her friends (and all the other guests on board) threw money at the kids as they tried to catch the coins in their mouth???????!!!?? I'm not 100% sure she's not remembering some crazy dream...
Anyway, the view was fantastic and the girls were captivated: Hadley by the docking process and Emmy by the cartoons playing on the incredibly large "funnel vision" screen out by the pool. :)
While we waited to disembark, we took a little time to explore the sports deck, which boasted a small putt putt course, basketball courts, and ping pong tables.
And before we knew it, it was time to meet our excursion group in the Buena Vista Theater (an awesome movie theater that shows first-run movies: Finding Nemo 3D and Iron Man 3 were two of the movies playing during our cruise). Blue Lagoon Island was beautiful but if we had the trip to do again I'm not sure we wouldn't have just stayed on board and enjoyed everything the boat had to offer. The excursions aren't run by Disney (except the ones on Castaway Cay, the Disney island), so it's extremely tough (in my opinion) for companies to compete with the level of service provided by Disney on the ship.
That being said, we did enjoy ourselves. We took a 30 minute boat ride to a privately-owned island boasting beautiful water, dolphin experiences, ocean obstacle courses and much, much more. Our little family spent time playing in the ocean and swinging on hammocks. The guests on the island came from many different cruise ships (Carnival and Royal Caribbean were also docked in Nassau) as well as from some of the hotels in Nassau and boats departing for return to the cruise ships/hotels left every hour or so.
We also had lunch on the island (included in the price of the excursion) but again...it's hard to beat the Disney experience. I was less than impressed the food. No worries, though; I simply grabbed a made-to-order panini and some fries once we boarded the boat again. :) We played for a few hours (2.5-3) before hopping a boat back to the Dream.
It felt great to be back on board! Because we already had our bathing suits on, we rode the AquaDuck and played in the Mickey pool before heading back to our rooms. The AquaDuck (the clear tube slide that stretches the length of the boat and goes over the side of the boat and out above the ocean) was AWESOME! Harris and Hadley loved it and Ben, Granti, and me took turns riding with them. We were concerned about having to wait in long lines for the slide (the ship was at full capacity) but we never waited more than 20 minutes. In fact, on our day at sea, we rode quite a few times in a row with no wait whatsoever!
Children aren't allowed in the pools on board unless they've been potty trained (no swim diapers) but Nemo's Reef was the perfect place for Emmy to play. It was shaded (no sun at all) and full of all kinds of fountains and even a slide for the littlest ones to play on. She couldn't get enough! Nemo's Reef was located right next to Mickey's pool (a shallow "family" pool), so whichever adult wasn't riding the AquaDuck had Nemo's Reef/pool duty.
When the big kids were finished riding the slide, they had a blast in the pool. And in case you're wondering why they're not looking at the camera in the picture below, it's because they can't take their eyes off whatever movie was playing on the funnel vision screen.
Looks like it's "The Little Mermaid."
Harris rode the Mickey slide a few times as well. :)
When we were tired of swimming, we grabbed a quick snack before heading to the room to get ready for the evening.
Once again, we caught a show before dinner: "Villains Tonight." While not my favorite of the shows we saw, it was definitely cute and the kids (surprisingly) enjoyed it! In fact, I think it was probably one of their favorite nights.
Once again, we were able to browse the shops and meet a few characters in the atrium in between the show and dinner.
On Monday night, we met our wait staff in "The Enchanted Garden" for dinner. My littlest girl was worn out from her time in the water and slept her way through the meal. :)
One of my favorite dinner memories revolves around Mom and her peanut allergy. On our first night, the head waiter asked if anyone at our table had any allergies. Ben spoke up and said that Mom was allergic to peanuts, which is true. But if she eats a peanut, she get congested. I mean, her nose gets really runny, and I'm sure it's awful, but she doesn't stop breathing or anything like that.
But (to Disney's credit), they take health and safety extremely seriously. Mom had to have her dinner selections approved by the chef every single night. In fact, as we finished up one meal, our waiter, Pong, would bring Mom the menu for the next night so her order could be approved and waiting! It was hysterical...especially when she got told that she couldn't order the macadamia nut Mahi Mahi. Ben ordered it as an extra entree that night, though, so she could try it.
The big kids finished off the night by opting in to the "Dine-n-Play" program again. It wasn't long after we finished dinner, picked them up, and checked out the nightly creations left by our state room hostess that we hit the sack.
Tuesday morning would bring Castaway Cay and we couldn't wait!