Aaron and I recently reached our 10th wedding anniversary, so we decided to celebrate by taking a cruise to the Bahamas….sans Turner! We decided to sail on Disney Cruise Line because in all of our research, it was clear that Disney cruises are top of the line, and we wanted an excellent experience for our milestone anniversary. We checked their embarkation dates and the cruise that embarked on our exact anniversary happened to be one of the least expensive for March, so we booked it right away. We didn’t take too many pictures on this trip…I guess we were too busy having fun! I’ve included a few below along with all of the details of our trip.
We flew in to Orlando on the day before embarkation and took an Uber to our hotel at Disney Springs. It was so nice! Our suite was so large and comfortable, and had a very large bathroom and kitchenette area. We will definitely consider staying here during our next Disney World trip. From there, we had dinner reservations at Art Smith’s Homecomin’ restaurant at Disney Springs. We were disappointed in the wait time considering that we had a reservation, but the food was good…especially the grits! The portions were huge and the staff was friendly. I’m glad we ate there, but I wouldn’t necessarily have to go back. We strolled around Disney Springs for a bit and then walked back to our hotel for the night.
Instead of taking Disney’s shuttle to Port Canaveral, we opted to rent a car so that we could take our time getting to the port. It saved us a little bit of money and a lot of time, so we thought it was a good decision. Since we didn’t have to be back at the airport early to catch the shuttle, we were able to sleep in a bit and then grab a late breakfast and make our way down to Port Canaveral. It was so exciting to see all of the cruise ships in the port and we couldn’t wait to start our trip! The only downside was that it was really chilly that day! We had planned to go straight to the ship to swim, but it was a bit too cold for that. Once we got on board, we took some time to explore the ship and made our way to the kids’ area to check it out for when we take another cruise with Turner. We had lunch at the buffet on board. After the mandatory safety/assembly drill, we headed back to the cabin to get unpacked and ready for the evening.
We opted for the 2nd seating for dinner, so we went to a live show at 6 PM, and then played Bingo at 7 PM while waiting for dinner. We didn’t know it then, but Bingo would become one of our favorite things to do on the ship! The hosts were so entertaining and we had a blast. Our first dinner was at Animator’s Palate. We got to know our table mates, but admittedly, the first night is a bit awkward. We were seated with 2 other couples, as well as one single female. We felt slight pressure to keep conversation going, especially with the single cruiser, but overall it was good. We enjoyed our food and then went to the adults only lounge to play family feud and watch the “match your mate” game. I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time! Aaron and I weren’t on stage, but we played along with the contestants and got most of our answers right! After 10 years, I think we know each other pretty well.We laughed so hard and had such a good time!
Our first stop was at Nassau, Bahamas. We had pre-booked a day at the Atlantis Aquaventure resort/waterpark, so after breakfast at the buffet, we hopped on a bus to take us there. Unfortunately, we dealt with the same issue there…the weather was perfect but the water was cold! We toughed it out and managed to ride around the lazy river for a while and enjoy the scenery. We rode a few slides and had lunch at the park. We also booked an excursion to kayak with dolphins. That part was so much fun! We were so close to the dolphins and truly enjoyed the experience.
Aquaventure was good, but honestly I think it’s a bit overrated/overpriced for what you get. When we go on another cruise, I would lean more toward staying on the boat and enjoying the spa and other amenities on board as opposed to going back to Aquaventure. I wanted to rest for a bit when we got back on board, but Aaron went to play another round of Bingo. He won $145 that time! After that, we went to another live show and then to dinner at Tiana’s Place. Disney is the only cruise line that offers rotational dining, which means your servers stay with you from restaurant to restaurant. We were impressed that our server immediately recognized us when we walked in the door! It’s extra touches like that that make Disney stand out above the rest. There was a pirate-themed deck party after dinner, but we skipped that and opted to call it a night.
Our 3rd day was spent at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. This was BY FAR my favorite day. The weather was absolutely PERFECT. We found out about a 5k run around the island the night before, so on a whim, we woke up early and registered for it that morning. We were among the first guests to be able to get off the boat, so that was a plus! I’ve jogged 3+ miles on a treadmill before (not lately), but this was my first 5k race ever. We finished in 37 minutes. Not terribly fast, but I was happy that I did it! We then made our way over to ride jet skis for an hour. The water was cold here too, but tolerable on the jet skis, especially since the water is SO CLEAR and beautiful! We were in a very small group (just 4 people total), so the guides spent a lot of time with us. We saw huge stingrays and starfish. I would definitely do this excursion next time!
After that, we rented bikes and biked over to Serenity Bay, the adults-only area of the beach. Disney provided a buffet lunch and the food was so good. We had a great conversation with another couple and had a truly enjoyable lunch. We had reserved scuba gear and tubes, but we couldn’t bring ourselves to get into the water because it was just too cold for us. We walked around the island some more and chatted with a some people that we recognized from the boat, and then headed back to the boat and got in the hot tub for a while. We went to the late afternoon bingo session, and we were ONE number away from winning $1,700! So close!! Regardless, we had a blast playing, and we have all of the cheesy bingo songs that the hosts sang permanently stuck in our heads!
We attended another live show that evening and had dinner at Tritan’s. It was one of the nicer restaurants, and the food was so good. I ordered things that I normally wouldn’t, and I’m so glad that I did because I loved everything that I tried. After dinner, we went back to the room to pack up to leave the next morning.
As they say, all good things must come to an end! On our final morning, we packed up the few belongings that we still had in the room (Disney takes your luggage the night before), and we had breakfast at Tritan’s. We got off the boat around 9 AM and made our way to pick up our rental car for our return to Orlando. Our flight wasn’t until 6 PM, so we had several hours to kill. We intended to go to Universal’s City Walk for lunch, but we ended up back at Disney Springs instead. (#welovedisney) We ate lunch at Blaze Pizza (so good!) and spent some time walking around the shops and enjoying the beautiful weather and our time together. We got a banana/nutella crepe (amazing) and sat by the water and relaxed a while. We found a gift for Turner before we left, and made our way back to the airport. Somehow we scored exit row seats on our return flight, so that was a little bonus to end our trip on.
My parents kept Turner at our house all week, and we were so happy to see him when we got home. After we ate a bite for dinner, we immediately grabbed the laptops and started looking at when we could book our next Disney cruise!
Miscellaneous Cruise Stuff
We both wore the Transderm Scop patch (that goes behind your ear) to prevent seasickness. Aaron did not experience any side effects, but I experienced dry mouth and very blurry vision. I would definitely still recommend using it, because it really helped prevent motion sickness.
We were on a lower deck, mid-ship. I’ve read various recommendations on where the “best” rooms on the ship are, but I can say that we were completely satisfied with the location of our room. There was no engine noise at night, and in fact, we both slept better on the ship that we ever do at home!
Our travel agent, Heather Tate, was so helpful in our planning process. She’s traveled the world (with and without kids) and is a great resource! If you’re planning a trip soon (cruise or otherwise), get in touch with her and she’ll be sure to get you the best rates! On Facebook, her group page is Heather Tate: Whimsical Destinations.
Not necessarily cruise related, but just my recommendation: Parents, go on a trip with your spouse without your kid(s). Seriously. Aaron and I hadn’t been away by ourselves in about 3.5 years. We don’t have any family nearby and it’s just difficult/complicated to get away without Turner. Even though we missed him, this trip was SO GOOD for us! This trip reminded us how much we love each other and it was so good for our marriage. We’re going to try to do this much more often.
Finally, I went on a Disney cruise circa 1998, (I was a young teenager and honestly don’t remember much of it), but our travel agent called Disney to see if they still had a record of my cruise. They did! Since this was technically my 2nd sailing, I was considered a “Silver Castaway Club” member. When we boarded the ship, there was a welcome gift of a Disney Cruise Line backpack waiting for us (photo above). Disney also left us a nice card congratulating us on our anniversary. I can’t say enough good things about Disney Cruise Line!