When Aaron and I went on our 10 year anniversary cruise in March, we immediately knew that we wanted to book another trip to take Turner on his first cruise. We asked our sisters, parents, family, and friends if anyone wanted to go with us, and we were excited that our cousins Julie and Ed took us up on the offer.
Although we booked the trip in April, we kept it a complete surprise from Turner until the day we were scheduled to board the trip in September. It was so hard to keep such a big secret from him, but it was worth it to see his reaction. After we secretly packed all of our suitcases and loaded them in the car, we told Turner that we were all going out to run some errands. He was a bit confused when we arrived at the airport, but he didn’t question us too much. We told him that we were going to get on an airplane and go on a field trip to a different airport to take a tour. We spent the night prior to our cruise at the hotel in the Orlando airport, and we surprised him with a call from Mickey and Minnie the next morning to announce the cruise. #bestdayever
Our itinerary for this trip was 4 nights, including stops at Nassau, Bahamas and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, as well as a day at sea. We were able to secure a 10:30 AM port arrival time to ensure we had as much time as possible on the boat on our first day. Turner was so excited to see the big ship when we drove up to the port. He was equally as excited to see Mickey! We met up with Julie and Ed at the port terminal (the 2nd big surprise for Turner) and we all boarded the ship around 11 AM. Once on board, we took a minute to admire the beautiful lobby, and then we headed directly to the kids club to let Turner check it out. He really loved it! There was a replica of the Millennium Falcon, Andy’s room from Toy Story, as well as many other “stations” for the kids to play at.
We then went to lunch at the buffet, Cabanas, and enjoyed the food and the views. Our rooms were ready after lunch, so we went and got unpacked before the muster drill at 4 PM. We had planned on swimming for a bit, but forgot that all of the pools shut down about an hour before the drill. Later that afternoon, we spent some time at the pool deck playing Goofy’s sports simulator before getting ready for dinner. While the adults played Bingo and went to dinner at Royal Palace, Turner enjoyed playing in the kids club. I think Royal Palace was my favorite dinner, and I’m pretty sure we ended up with nine desserts at our table! Our server was VERY good to us!
The next day, we woke up and met several Disney princesses in the lobby. Admittedly, that was more for me, but Turner reluctantly went along. Then we briefly got off the ship at Nassau to get Turner’s first passport stamp. (Side note – I didn’t get my first passport until I was 32 years old. Turner is FOUR and already has a stamp!) We made our way back through the market and checked out a few booths, but we primarily planned to spend the day on the ship. We swam at the pools and went down the Aqua Duck slide quite a few times. The Aqua Duck is a clear tube slide that goes over the side of the ship. We ate our fair share of ice cream cones and french fries while we were at it, too! It was fun getting to watch Disney movies on the big screen while at the pools. Since our cruise was a “Halloween on the High Seas” cruise, we got to dress up and go to a Halloween party that afternoon. Turner wore his Iron Man costume and got to trick-or-treat on several decks. I was shocked at how many kids there were! Even though the process was a bit overwhelming, he was happy with his bag full of candy in the end. Turner went back to the kids club that night while the adults enjoyed dinner at Animator’s Palate.
Castaway Cay Day
On day 3, we all slept in until close to 9 AM. I don’t know what it is about being on a cruise ship, but I always get the best sleep! We grabbed a quick breakfast at Enchanted Garden and got off the ship to enjoy a day at Disney’s private island. Aaron had reservations to ride a jet ski, so while he went to do that, Turner and I made our way to Pelican Point to go down the water slides. We each went down a slide once, but Turner wasn’t thrilled with going underwater at the end and coming up with salt water in his eyes. After that, we decided just to play at the beach for a while. We swam in the crystal clear water and played in the sand until Aaron came back from his jet ski tour. Around lunchtime, we took Turner over to the kids club on the island, Scuttles Cove. He was a bit reluctant to go there at first since the kids were all just having lunch, but a super-nice counselor was able to convince him that he would have fun…and he did!
Aaron and I rented bicycles and rode over to the adults-only section of the island to join Julie and Ed for lunch. The food there is so good! I remembered how good the fresh mango was from our last trip, and it did not disappoint this time, either. Aaron and I rode our bikes back and grabbed a fruity drink before picking up Turner to go back to the ship. We had planned to go to the magic show that evening, but sweet Turner fell asleep so we just rested in the room for a while so he would be ready for Pirate Night later that evening.
Turner joined the adults for dinner at Animator’s Palate for pirate night, and I must say, he was the cutest little pirate at the table! His costume was so good that the dining room manager made him “assistant manager” for the night and took him around to check on a few tables near us. After dinner, we went to the pool deck to the pirate party. Again, there was a huge crowd, but it was still a lot of fun. Turner enjoyed the music and seeing the characters, but we didn’t hang around for fireworks because he was ready for bed.
Day at Sea
On our final day at sea, we ordered light room service for breakfast because we had a special brunch planned at one of the ship’s signature restaurants, Palo. Once Aaron and I were dressed and ready, we dropped Turner off at the kids club for one last time while we met with Julie and Ed for brunch. The view at Palo was amazing! We were able to order off the menu as well as enjoy food from the extensive displays (buffet). I think we all made more than one trip to the buffet because there were just so many excellent choices. It was well worth the extra charge for this meal. I wish I would have taken more pictures of the food, as well as a group picture of us with Julie and Ed.
After brunch, Aaron and I went back to the room to start packing up a bit before picking up Turner. Julie was gracious enough to watch Turner for us at the pool for a while so Aaron and I could enjoy some time at the spa. Although the spa was lovely, the “rainforest showers” that we had looked forward to were honestly disappointing! There were only 3 buttons in each shower, and no matter what we did, the water was ice cold! I also thought there was supposed to be an element of aroma therapy, but we never figured that out either. It could have been user error on our part, but we just couldn’t get it to work for us. We tried the sauna for a bit (so hot that I could barely breathe!), so we made our way to the Jacuzzis that were overlooking the ocean. It was so beautiful! We also laid in some hot-stone chairs with the same view and I think I even dozed off for a minute. I could have stayed there for hours! After getting showered and changed in the locker room, we met up with Julie and Turner and stopped for a quick bite to eat by the pool. While we were at the spa, Julie said they watched some boat races in the pool and enjoyed multiple trips down the slides. That evening, we all went to the live production of Beauty and the Beast. Disney really knows how to put on a show. It was fantastic!
I was sad that our cruise was coming to an end, but excited because I knew we would be going on another one. A perk of Disney Cruise Line is that if you pay a deposit to book a “placeholder” trip while on board, you get 10% off the next trip. You just have to commit to cruise again within the next 2 years. Sign me up! The next morning, we went back to Enchanted Garden for one last meal on the ship before disembarking to start our journey home. There was definitely a big difference between our anniversary trip in March (parents only) vs. having Turner on this trip. While the cruise in March was more relaxing, we definitely got to experience different things this time and see the joy on Turner’s face when he was having fun.
- Turner loved laying in the porthole in our room (or any porthole on the ship for that matter!)
- Our room attendant noticed that Turner’s blanket had dinosaurs on it, so she changed his bedding to have The Good Dinosaur sheets. Disney staff is so attentive to every detail!
- Aaron saw a huge stingray, sea turtle, and shark while on the jet ski. The guides said they rarely see sharks and everyone commented on how calm the waters were!
- The Aqua Duck slide! This slide was so fun! Turner was BARELY tall enough to ride it. On the first day, the staff wouldn’t let him ride because a thin sheet of paper could fit between the top of his head and the height sign. We were so bummed. We tried again the 2nd day and after much discussion, the lifeguards reluctantly gave him an armband clearing him to ride. The views from the clear section of the slide out over the ocean were amazing.
- The food! There is an over-abundance of food on the ship and it’s hard not to find something that you like. I’m a fairly picky eater, but I tried a few things that I normally wouldn’t have ordered and ended up really enjoying them.
- The Main Dining Room servers. Due to Disney’s “rotational dining” system, you keep your same servers each night even though you switch restaurants. They really get to know you throughout the trip and remember your preferences. They were also really entertaining and fun, especially with Turner. He loved their magic tricks!