April 8, 2011

The Disney Dream Extended Review Part 5... Ports of Call

When you sail out of Port Canaveral on a three day or four day cruise there really is not too many places that you can go.  The obvious is The Bahamas.  I am not a big fan of the country as I just think that it is a dirty place especially now that half of the main port area in Nassau was destroyed by fire.  Maybe this will be a blessing in disguise as they have the opportunity to rebuild something beautiful.  Disney's other stop on this cruise is their fantastic private island Castaway Cay, which couldn't be further from Nassau in terms of beauty and things to do.


There is really only one place to go when visiting Nassau and that is The Atlantis, and the Atlantis knows this.  It's the only way to explain as to why I had to sell my youngest child just to step foot inside the door, IT IS EXPENSIVE!  I was lucky enough to get discounted tickets to explore all that this resort had to offer, but it was still $60 per person.  There is no way that I would have spent $120 to step inside this enormous hotel.  Don't get me wrong, the place is beautiful with some of the nicest grounds to a resort that I have seen in my life.  However at the price you pay you should be getting a little more in return than having the ability to NOT get a beach chair and paying $20 for a sandwich.  We were unfortunately shut of of the lounge chairs as we didn't realize that it was going to take a full hour from the moment we stepped out of our cab to find the place to buy our tickets.  Did I mention the place is enormous?  I swear I feel like I am still walking.

After getting our tickets it was another 45 minutes to get to the pool we wanted to go to, as you have to then snake your way through the Aquarium, which I will say is quite nice.  If you are going to do this excursion it might be worth it to spend the extra money through Disney as i am sure that it will cut down on time spent trying to find where you are going.  There are a ton of things to do here like snorkling, kayaking, and swimming at the beach and pools but is it all worth the price, I don't know.  It seemed to me that by the time we finally got to our little table to put our stuff on, which took a while, we had to turn around and head back to the ship.  They need an easier way to get to Atlantis and the rumor is that there is going to be a bridge built from the port to the hotel.  Of course this will probably just raise prices, you might have to sell BOTH of your kids just to step inside.  Needless to say on our subsequent three day cruise we stayed on the boat and so, it seemed, did everyone else.


This is where all cruise lines wish they were Disney.  There is no better island in the cruise world than what they have to offer.  If they would let me, I would put a little bungalow on the other side of the island and call this place home.  I mean seriously Disney think of the possibilities of having me as a full time resident!  Castaway Cay is just begging me to be a castaway on this island.  There is no lack of things to do here, from jetskiing, to parasailing, to snorkeling, to biking, or just plain relaxing and building a sandcastle, Disney has it all covered.  I have heard complaints from people saying that there weren't enough lounge chairs at the beach, especially with the larger amounts of people visiting but we didn't find that to be the case.  We got off the boat a little later than some and still were able to get a couple of chairs and pull them right up to the waters edge, I didn't see a problem there.

For those that have never been to this island you are in for quite a treat, it really is the perfect beach vacation spot.  There are no waves, the water is relatively warm, the sun is plentiful, and they serve you lunch.  When you get off the boat you have two options; you can walk or you can take the tram.  Now if you have your stroller or you just want to take in the island I suggest you walk, its really not that far to get to the beach or wherever you might want to see.  That being said if you don't feel like walking, take the tram.  You are on vacation afterall.

Grab a chair, grab a cocktail, grab your snorkel, the day is limitless as to what you can do.  While this is a great beach to go to if you have kids, part of me wishes that I could experience everything that it has to offer without kids.  Remember in other reviews how I said don't go on this cruise if you don't have kids, well this is one place you can go and have a great time.  We like to play on the beach and dig a giant hole and let the kids figure out how to get out, I should have dug a little deeper and ran off and did the things I wanted to do.  Unfortunately someone had to watch the kids, bummer.  However, if my kids would have let me I could have put them in the Island version of kids club, Scuttles Cove.  Seriously kids mommy and daddy aren't that much fun to be around.  While my kids would rather spend time with us I know most kids LOVE going to these beach hangouts.

There are plenty of things you can do as a family, like renting snorkels, floats, tubes, kayaks so the fun is limitless.  Now my kids were a little young for snorkeling, we did find that Disney recently added a huge water slide, Pelican Plunge, in the ocean that is just as much fun for us as it was for them. The only problem is that it is a good 100 feet out to the "floating" platform.  We could tow our kids out there, floatation devices are provided free of charge, holy cow! so you don't have to worry about little Susie and Jimmy sinking to the bottom of the ocean.  Its pretty neat, the lines weren't too long but I could see people getting a little chilly out there if there was any sort of wind.

There are also tons of character greetings all over this island, I can't say that we waited very long to get our pictures taken, definitely not as long as we waited on the boat.  Characters are a touchy subject around our house as our oldest loves them and before this trip my youngest would scream bloody murder at the very sight of them.  That being said the magic of the island brought out the best in him as we actually got pictures of him for the first time in three years with these Disney greats.  God bless Castaway Cay, it now makes our lives that much easier.

There are plenty of places on the island to get yourself a cocktail.  You are on vacation after all, so you might as well get yourself an island treat, in fact get yourself two and tell them I sent you.  They will probably give you a confused look like they have no idea who I am, but thats their way of just playing with you.  While you are at it get your kids a beverage as well, thankfully my kids have never complained when I wanted to saddle up to the bar.  They seem to enjoy it as well, just go easy on the rum.  Lunchtime is served Bar-b-que style.  Hot dog, hamburgers and ribs are the order of the day.  While its not Cabanas and their unlimited supply of shrimp, it's certainly an enjoyable meal.  I actually like the change of pace from all of the formality on the boat.  Seeing everyones faces plastered with bar-b-que sauce certainly makes for a more enjoyable meal, at least for me.

There is one area that I am sure people will have questions about, the Cabanas.  Now I don't know about you but the idea of paying $500 to have a little structure above your head when you are AT THE BEACH seems a little steep to me.  Granted you get your own section of beach and maybe a place to put a sleeping kid in, but that just seems crazy.  I could think of way better things to spend my money on, but if you have the money go for it.  I hear it comes with a refrigerator full of drinks, the Disney kind, some snacks, and even some fruit!  Seriously though you are at the beach don't waste your money on this, maybe I am just jealous I didn't get one.

The bottom line is that this little stretch of beach is one of the main reasons why people LOVE DCL so much.  It certainly is one of the highlights for me every time we go on their ships.  I almost wish they would skip every other port of call and just stay docked here everyday.  When the only other place on a three and four day cruise is Nassau it really makes you LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Castaway Cay.

Castaway Cay

For more on the dining click here
For more on Fine Dining click here
For more on the accommodations click here

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


1 comment:

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    Great information thanks.