Disney Cruise Line: A Week at Sea (Editorial)

A cruise is an experience that I never thought I could check off my list. My week at sea consisted of snorkeling, a first-hand look at downtown Nassau, a day at the beach, and world-class dining. Unfortunately a small setback for me, was also taking a trip to the Florida emergency room; that’s a story for later. This cruise was with Disney Cruise Lines and it truly was a “magical experience.”

Day 1: The alarm went off early at 4:30 am. Me, my brother, and two parents crawled into the car to head to Denver International Airport. We get through security and grab some McDonald’s, the breakfast of champions. We have a smooth flight to Orlando, Florida. As soon as we land we make our way to the “Disney Magical Express.” The fleet of shuttle take passengers to Disney World. The rain painted a beautiful picture on our hour drive to the Disney World Park. After getting checked in, we received our Magic Bands; they serve as room keys and a ticket to anywhere in the park. The journey to find our room was quite a long one, weaving through hallways and up staircases. Once finding our old-fashioned room at the Port Orleans, Riverside Resort, we went the popular shopping area of Disney Springs. I tried fish and chips at an Irish restaurant, called the Cookes of Dublin. Next, my brother and I hit the pool. Then crashed to get rested for the next day.

This was the last picture taken before my toe officially had the worst day ever.

Day 2: Everyone in the family wakes up and we prepare our bags for Disney to take them; the next time we see our bags is in our room on the boat later that day. We get breakfast at the food court area a short 10 minute walk from our room. With time to kill, we rented a quad person bike, called a Surrey Bike, to ride around. My brother and mom ride in the front, and my step-dad and I ride in the rear, we head onto our next adventure. At one point, all of us got confused where we were going, so we decided to back up and turn around. In the process, I lost track of where my right foot was. It got caught in between the crank of the pedal and the frame covering the chain. By the time I realized what was happening, it was already through a turn of the pedal and pinkie toe was already suffering. We rush back to get a first-aid kit. The cut is much deeper than any of us thought. Because it was in between my pinkie toe and the toe next to it, the Disney employees called the paramedics. The first responders got me on the stretcher and wheeled me past all the people to the ambulance, and I instantly became the talk of Riverside.

We went to Florida Hospital Celebration Health in Orlando. The nurses and staff helping me were very kind and it seemed I was the highlight of their day so far. I was given the important task of filling out that lovely medical paperwork. The doctor started with the lidocaine, to numb the area around the cut. It burned a little but, overall wasn’t nearly as bad as I anticipated. He delicately put in 8 stitches all around my tiny pinkie toe. After some instructions of what to do after leaving, I was discharged. My step-dad and I made our way outside. The next challenge was to figure out how to work the Lyft app to get back to Riverside. We ended up barely making it back in time to board the shuttle to head towards the boat.

An hour later we make it to Port Canaveral. We make our way onto the boat and it just beautiful. It doesn’t feel like you are on a boat. The boat itself has 14 floors, more than 1,200 staterooms that hold at least one family each, 3 huge dining rooms, 3 restaurants, multiple pools, and even 2 movie theaters. Because of the morning we already had, all of us just relaxed in the room for a little bit. When the medical center opened, we went to see if I could get crushes to get out a wheelchair. Later, we went to dinner and had our first experience of the 5-course world class dining we kept hearing about. The food was amazing and the seafood was all fresh.

Day 3: Our family was determined to be first at the breakfast buffet. We made our way to Deck 11 to get a beautiful view of the water with the sunrise. Next on our agenda was snorkeling in Nassau, Bahamas. There were some native Bahamians would led a group of us out there. During the 45 minute boat ride to the snorkeling spot, we passed magnificent houses that belong to various celebrities. The water was a vivid blue that I could have looked at forever. I unfortunately couldn’t join in, but I was also content just laying there and watching the water. The catamaran had nets that overlooked the water people could lay on at look at the fish and just the clarity of the water. After about an hour or two observing the water, we all made our way back to the port. Next stop was the Straw Market. The locals know how to lure in the tourists with hand-made products and cheap souvenirs. We walked around and got to talk to some of the people. On the long trek back to the boat, we got to people watch and be apart of their culture. It was enlightening to see such happy people. The rest of the night was full of just watching the water.

The water was so clear that, even from the boat, you could see the coral and the fish.

During dinner, we got to try some more amazing food. Disney had it set up so one waiter and his assistant would serve your family the whole time on the boat. Surya and Rashid were the staff with our family the whole trip. Surya was the lead server and would make sure were always happy. He would give us jokes and riddles to solve. He has been with the company for 11 years so he has a large stock-pile of brain teasers. He is also apart of a band, and apparently the head chef is the drummer; Surya would bring us things that weren’t even on the menu anymore.

This was my sad attempt to keep my stitched up foot out of the water.

Day 4: By the time we woke up, the boat was docked at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. We instantly took the shuttle to Serenity Bay, the beach strictly for adults. We found a group of four chairs. With some extra effort I got down to the edge of the water with my crutches to get at least some of me wet. I sat by the water just captivated by the endless horizon, the clear water, the coarse sand, the sound of the waves, the smell of the salt water, and the warm water hitting my not injured foot. Our relaxing day came to end so we could take a group nap back in our room on the boat. We ate in the dining room called “the Animators Palate.” The walls were covered in drawings of the characters we now love. At one point, the turtle, Crush, fromFinding Nemo would talk to guests while they ate. The coolest part is that he would have real conversations with you not just a robot repeating a message.

Day 5: On our long journey back to Florida, we had a whole day to spend on the boat. Storms and clouds prevented us from baking on the deck of the ship. I found my favorite deck to sit on while everyone went exploring the ship. I worked on homework, my brother ventured to places on the boat me and my crutches couldn’t go, my mom went to the spa, and my step-dad took a nap. After the past few days of being busy, it was nice to just take a second and breathe. The third dining room, “The Enchanted Garden”, was based off of the Alice in Wonderland film released in 1951. With this being our last diner on the ship, we were all very sad to see Surya and Rashid go. Later that night, there was a firework show. We went to the adult bar all the way on deck 13, just so we could avoid all the kids. We watched the beautiful display if fireworks and then hit the hay.

All three of the dining rooms were beautiful, but this one was by far the most intricate.

The Dream is one of four of Disney’s massive cruise ships.

Day 6: It was time to bid the Disney Dream good-bye. We got off the boat, to go through customs and border control again, to get on our shuttle back to the airport. After a long security line, we make it to our gate. We have a 3 hour layover in Houston,Texas. 15 minutes before we are supposed to board, they moved our gate and I finally got to ride on of those little golf carts to get there on time. Despite already boarding the plane, we have a delay and just sat on the runway for a little bit. It was peaceful. Finally we land in Denver, and make our safe drive home.

By Darby Hodge on September 17, 2018 · Posted in Feature, News, Opinion

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