Monday, December 14, 2015

Disney Very Merrytime Cruise Vacation 2015

This vacation has been a long time coming! It was booked in May 2014 and we had guess and choose Ms. or Mr. for Eli (and of course were wrong with our guess of Ms.). It almost didn't seem like it was every going to happen but low and behold this last year flew by and we've come and gone from these fun times. We cruised on the Disney Wonder out of Galveston on one of their Very Merrytime cruises and had a blast!

Day 1: Galveston
We started our trip on Thursday afternoon and stopped in Schulenburg to drop the doggies off at Nanny/Pops doggie camp :) and then continued on to Pearland to cut our drive down on Friday. Friday morning we drove to Galveston and were able to get on the boat not long after arriving. Once we got onboard everyone headed to lunch and I waited in line to get our passes for the character breakfast & gingerbread house making (we skipped the princess & frozen meet and greats - but how cool do those sound?!). Luckily we were able to get into our rooms at 1:30 because surprise, surprise - little man needed a nap...thank goodness for room darkening curtains! Sailaway was at 4 and we decided to enjoy the views from our balconies rather than going up on deck to the party - this way Eli could run around freely. Dinner the first night was a little hectic but still very enjoyable. Disney has rotational dining throughout their 3 restaurants so you dine in a different dining room each night but your waitstaff moves dining rooms with you - very neat!

Ready to vacation!

Our Balcony Cabin

Another cool thing about Disney are the bathrooms in the cabins - there's actually 2. One with a sink & toilet & one with a sink & shower. Makes getting ready a whole lot easier!

Day 2: Sea Day
Day 2 started out nice with a character breakfast where Eli got to meet Doc McStuffins, Princess Sofia, Jake, & Mickey Mouse. He was scared of doc but pretty fascinated with Jake & of course his favorite, Mickey Mouse! After naptime (gym time for mom & dad) we had lunch and walked around the walking deck for a bit and started to not feel so well. Unfortunately there were pretty rough seas and it took a toll on Justin and I. We laid in bed from 1pm Saturday until 7am Sunday. We let Eli go on a rampage around the room - he was pulling things out of drawers - banging things - he had a blast! Oh and a huge plus of Disney cruises, they run Disney movies in the rooms 24/7 so there was always something good to watch! My parents took him to dinner that night because we just couldn't get up without feeling sick (luckily neither of us actually got sick) and of course he was a complete and total angel for them! He had his first Mickey bar for dessert and his chocolate covered clothes were proof it was a hit! They took him to a bar near the restaurant before dinner and he sat in his stroller mesmerized by the dance kids on the dance floor.

Someone loved the walking deck!

Day 3: Key West
Luckily the seas were calmer when we woke up so we felt fine to get out and about. The ship arrived in Key West around 11 so we took our time getting off and took the free trolley into town. We walked down the famous Duval Street and had lunch at Caroline's Cafe - where Eli was enthralled with the pigeons. We went into some shops after lunch and there was a short (but heavy) rain shower. It was time for nap #2 so we headed back to the boat and all got some rest. Since Eli loved watching the kids dancing the 2nd night we decided to take him before dinner on Sunday too and omg - he was soo funny to watch. He was enthralled with the guitar player and finally showed us some of his doesn't get much cuter!

Haha one of my favorite pictures from the trip!

Mr. Pigeon Watcher 
Dad & Eli matched the color of the house!

Day 4: Castaway Cay
Unfortunately this storm followed us to Castaway Cay and we had an overcast and rainy day - not the picture perfect weather you always see pictures of. We ended up heading to the beach around 10am and boy was that water chilly! It was Eli's first experience at the beach and overall he seemed to like it. He did not like the life vest we put on him and the salt water was a shock to him (since he likes to put his face in his bathwater this wasn't quite the same) but he didn't seem to mind the chilly water. After playing in the ocean for a while we got out and went to one of the pavillions for lunch. Castaway Cay is Disney's private islands and as you can imagine - it's top notch from the decorations to the facilities! We had a wonderful lunch but then someone was getting cranky so we headed back to the boat. That evening we decided to skip dinner in the dining room and eat pizza/chicken strips up on deck so we could go see Toy Story The Musical in the theater. The "adults" (my parents & Larry/Robyn) were going to their fancy dinner at Palo so they joined for the first part of the show. Eli was great and sat in our laps and watched the whole time! He got a little fidgety towards the end but I was way proud of him. I think the giant, larger than life toys peaked his interest :) Disney sure does know how to put on a good show!

Day 5: Nassau
Another rainy day, but like the cruise director kept mentioning - a little rain isn't going to get in the way of a wonderful vacation, and he was right! We were waiting for the rain to stop to head to town to shop but that never really happened so Justin stayed on board so Eli could nap and Tyler, Kristin, my mom and I ventured into Nassau to shop. We've been there one other time (with very similar weather) and I'm still not impressed by this port. The people on the street are very rude & pushy and everything was pretty expensive. We shopped around for about an hour and then came back to the ship. There were 4 other ships in port with us (Carnival Sensation & Fantasy, RCCL Majesty of the Seas & the Disney Dream) so there were definitely a lot of tourists out and about despite the weather. It was pirate night so we donned our (very basic in comparison) pirate gear for dinner & Eli had his picture taken with pirate Mickey! People go allll out for pirate night *noted for the future!

View from our balcony
After our shopping adventure
Waiting for Mickey

My little pirate!

Day 6: Sea Day
Sun! There you are! We had a beautiful (& calm) sea day on Wednesday. We started the morning out by going to see The Good Dinosaur in the Buena Vista theater with Tyler & Kristin (mom babysat while E napped) and it was soo good! I wish we would have been able to see more movies in the theater while on board because they had lots of good options. We went straight from the movies to gingerbread house making/decorating. We had fun decorating while Eli had fun eating the gingerbread - neither of our houses ended up with chimneys on them! We had a pretty relaxing day and were able to keep Eli up later than normal to go to the "Freezing the Night Away" Frozen deck party and fireworks. The fireworks are usually on pirate night but they had to be moved because of the rain. You would have never known the fireworks didn't always shoot off to "Let it Go" because it was pretty perfect! How fun to see fireworks out in the middle of the ocean - followed by "snow." I thought the fireworks were going to upset Eli but he was pretty fascinated laying his head on my shoulder watching - he was definitely a trooper!

This was pretty much Eli the entire time - running back and forth haha

"Let me help you out dad!"

Showing me the right way to wear a lanyard - everything is a scarf!

Day 7: Sea Day
Our last day at sea but we couldn't have asked for better weather. We took Eli to the splash pad (he can't go in any of the pools because he's not potty trained) and omg he loved it! I wish we had taken him other days (had the weather been better). We took an adults only tour of the ship in the afternoon while he was napping and learned a lot. Behind the scenes Disney facts are always my favorite! We enjoyed wine/champagne in my parents room before dinner to say bon voyage to vacation (sad day) and had a great last dinner in the dining room. Justin, Tyler & Kristin went to see Cinderella (the new people version) in the movie theater and I hung out with my mom in her room since Eli was sleeping. It was a great end to a great vacation!

We had such a great time on this cruise that we decided to book another one for next year! I really loved how everything was decorated for Christmas and loved seeing the characters on board. 

Life size gingerbread house!

We had great service while on board and everyone was so great with Eli. He loooved our head waiter Geffry (whose youngest son's name is Eli Yong - what a coincidence!) so we snapped a picture with him on our way out from breakfast on the last day).
If you couldn't tell by now, we had a great vacation and really enjoyed ourselves! We weren't sure exactly how it was going to go cruising with a 14 month old but I will say it was a success! I loved seeing Eli's face when seeing the characters or special things on board. Everyone was so nice and you never felt inconvenienced, even if your kid was throwing a fit in the dining room. I can report back on what cruising is like with a 2 year old but I'm hoping it's just as great! (I'm sure mom's of 2 year olds are laughing out loud at the thought right now) We're on our way to turning Eli into a seasoned cruiser - 1 down, many to go :)