Saturday, October 10, 2015

Living the Dream: 2015 Disney Cruise Line Trip Report - Day 4…SERENITY (Bay) NOW, Part 1

You can view Day 3 starting HERE.

Day 3 (of the cruise) Personal Navigator

Once again, I decided that, since I was on vacation and didn’t have to be up at any time at all, I was awake before 6:00.


Well….since I was up, I might as well grab some more sunrise pics.  Sheri was also up and ready to go, so she was already dressed for Castaway Cay by the time the sun came up.

After we were satisfied that the sun actually did come up that morning, we headed up to Cabanas for breakfast.  Emily, our server from lunch the previous day, was manning the hand sanitizer by the elevators, so we talked to her for a brief moment before heading in.  The dance party the previous night must have been a blast that went until 4:00 am (well, it was that or people were on vacation and sleeping in), because we were the first ones into Cabanas for breakfast.  The buffet was similar to what we saw in Enchanted Garden the previous day, and we grabbed a table by the window, as we were just about to Disney’s private island and had started the turn to back in for docking.  While we talked and watched, one of our main servers on the rotation was working breakfast, and he recognized us immediately and called us by name.  We chatted with him for a couple of minutes before he scampered off to help with another table that got seated.  I ran back down to the stateroom to grab one of our cups for ice water...I half-expected to see Reuben (and two clones of himself) cleaning up the room. He wasn't - hopefully he was still sleeping (along with most of the ship).

When I got back up to Cabanas, Sheri had this big smile on her face.  Our server insisted that we should let him get us an omelet, since they had to be special ordered. 

They definitely take care of you on the ship there!

The omelet was presented a couple of minutes later, and it was fantastic!

It was a little after 8:00, and Cabanas was starting to come to life a little bit.  We headed out and up to Deck 13 aft to see the sports area.  We didn’t have the camera with us, so we didn’t get any pictures of the miniature golf course (or the ping pong tables, or the foozball table, or the basketball court), but we walked around it to see all the holes.  I even geeked out at the hole with the math book formulas.

We headed back to the stateroom to chill for a bit while the crew members prepped the island for the onslaught of guests.  I hopped out on the verandah to watch everything going on, and, about two minutes after I sat down, the Buffett music started playing.

I had a feeling I might like Castaway Cay.

Around 8:35 or so, we made our way to Deck 3 mid-ship (in the atrium), and took the stairs down to Deck 1.  This was kind of weird…we hadn’t been on land for over 42 hours, and I was wondering if I was going to like not being on the ship.  We saw Ernest and Tina heading off just before us, so we talked to them for a bit.  Our plan was to walk around a little bit before making our way to the adults-only section of the Cay, Serenity Bay.  They were going to snorkel for a bit before heading over to Serenity Bay for a while.

We swiped our cards (so they knew who was on/off the ship) and stopped at a kiosk to grab a six pack………of bottled………WATER (weren’t expecting that, were ya?) along with a really nice collapsible cooler.  As we started walking, we saw those who were running the 5K meeting up to walk to the start.  We considered grabbing the tram but decided to walk a little to see what the island had to offer.  We noticed that a sign listed several excursions that were either delayed or cancelled for the day and guessed that the higher winds might have played a part in some of the cancellations; the parasailing with those winds would have been an intense ride.

We made it to the Scuttle’s Cove tram stop and contemplated hopping on to make it to Pelican Point (where you have to switch to another tram if you want to go to Serenity Bay).  We passed and kept on walking, taking in the sights.  We saw Mount Rustmore (just Google it :) ) , and, as we continued the walk, I felt like I should have signed up for the 5K, because we were with them the whole time; granted, they were still walking to the start area…

A bit that Caribbean humidity

I think the scientific name of that tree is arborus towerus cellulara

At Pelican Point, we decided to hop on the Serenity Bay Tram for the rest of the way.  We saw Melissa and Jamie waiting for the same tram and chatted for a quick second while we waited.  Not more than two minutes later, the tram arrived, and we hopped on for the ride up the airstrip and to the adults-only area.  The ride only took about 3-4 minutes before we hopped off and made our way to the bea…..

Oh man.

The beach.

I think we were the second tram to arrive, and the first tram must have had only a couple of people on it because we felt like we had almost the entire bay to ourselves.  Melissa and Jamie went left (close to the bar area), while we went right to head north a bit and grabbed a set of chairs and an umbrella to set up camp.  Sheri got stuff organized, while I put the umbrella up and started gooping the sunscreen on us.  We took our chairs and placed them right where the water “broke” and lapped onto the sand.  There’s a break that keeps the stronger waves from the ocean away, leaving crystal clear water for the beaches of Castaway Cay.  The waves are negligible…more of a lapping of water than a large crashing wave.


Good name.

We sat down, and listened.

…and watched.

And chilled.

I decided then and there (but not verbally) that I think a three night cruise was a good sampler as well as good for those who only had a few days to get away; the next cruise, however, was most likely going to be a longer one so I could attempt to try this thing called “relaxing”.  I’m the kind of person that can never turn my mind completely off (as I mentioned earlier, I’m cursed with a combination of both being A.D.D. and wearing multiple hats that constantly has me thinking of a million things).  I'll admit, thought, that, while I didn’t quite shut down, I got close while we sat there.  Sheri expected that just sitting there doing nothing was killing me; nope…I needed about 3 more days of this #EasternCaribbeanitinerary #coughcough.

Eventually, I hopped into the water, which was nice and warm.  I have heard that the water can get rather cold (even for those of us from the north with thicker blood) in the winter months around the Bahamas, but this was September, and it was perfect!  Sheri joined me after a little bit, and we headed out a hundred yards or so, looking at the bottom without snorkel gear.  A tiny fish (not 2 inches in length) swam by and must have liked something about us, because it swam around us for about 5 minutes.  When I say it was “by” us, it was more of a “I want to nibble on you and see what you taste like” proximity.

We saw Ernest and Tina arrive into Serenity Bay (they unknowingly chose the chairs right next to our stuff), and, after talking a bit about the clarity of the water here, they donned their gear and snorkeled in the Bay for a while.  We hopped back into our chairs and just…sat.

Ernest and I talked a bit and decided that we could easily split a cooler (or two) of Coronas over at the Castaway Air Bar.  Disney has thought of everything there…to avoid any glass on the beach, they transferred the beer to a plastic bottle for you (complete with the proper Corona logo and everything).  In the interest of research (of course), a couple of us also ordered some Konk Koolers (white and dark rum, passion fruit, coconut cream, and orange and pineapple juices…WOW!!).  Tina also gave a raving review of the Island Navigator from the nearby hammock.

While we were talking and enjoying the beverages, the aroma of lunch at the nearby Serenity Bay BBQ was intoxicating (ironic, eh?), so we decided to hop over and grab lunch.  This wasn’t your typical backyard grill-out.  Several different salads were there for starters, and a LOT of grilled meats were offered (hot dogs, burgers, amazing ribeye steaks, ribs, mahi mahi, chicken, etc.).  You could have as much of whatever you wanted there, and it was all REALLY good.  Throw in fresh fruit, other sides, chips, etc., and you end up with one heck of a good meal.  Oh yeah…dessert.  How about cookies, pineapple cake, banana bread, or soft-serve ice cream?

We all contemplated where to hide to stay on the island.  I’m guessing 2/3 of the passengers on every cruise do the same thing.

Ernest and Tina finished up and headed out, while we lounged around and people-watched a bit in the BBQ area.  Eventually, we moved back to the beach, but only for a bit longer as it was warming up.  We wanted to be back on the ship a little early to avoid long lines, so we only stayed for a little longer before packing up and heading to the tram stop.  We had to hop off the tram at Pelican Point anyway, so we decided to look around for some souvenirs.

We took the second tram back to Scuttle’s Cove and then hopped off to walk the rest of the way to get a few pics.

Area for the water equipment rentals

Before getting back on the Dream, we popped into the post office to send a postcard from another country to Aaron and Eric.  I honestly don’t think that it has arrived yet (around 4 weeks after the cruise).  Our Keys to the World cards were scanned (yes, they allowed us to bring our remaining water, still in the cooler, back onboard), and we were back onboard.

Castaway Cay – we will definitely see you again!!!

(Continued HERE)

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