Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Living the Dream: 2015 Disney Cruise Line Trip Report - Day 3…Nassau? Nah! Part 3

Part 2 can be viewed HERE.

We headed out around 3:30 to look around a bit more in the District before heading into Skyline, where Don, Ray, and Efraim were busy setting things up.  They mentioned that this was the largest Mixology class that they have ever taken on (25), but that they were really excited to see how it was going to work out.  As 4:00 neared, the majority of the Facebook group had arrived, though we were short a couple, still.  A few minutes after 4:00 saw the arrival of our last group (who had inadvertently gone to the scheduled open mixology class up in Meridian).  The plan was to break us up into 5 groups of 5 and have each group make a cocktail for everyone.  We were in group 4, so we could sit back, relax, and enjoy before stressing out about messing up.  The first group made a brain hemorrhage in honor of the Halloween theme on the ship (peach schnapps, Cream liquor, and a float of grenadine).  The effect was exactly as intended; it looked terrible but tasted fine.

Photo Courtesy of Jodi Bosak

I’ll be honest here…I can’t exactly recall the order of drinks 2 and 3, nor can I remember what one of the concoctions was.  I think that the second drink was the Captain’s Mai Tai (which I head earlier in the day).  The third one might have been a tequila sunrise to show the separation of the alcohols (different colors on top and bottom).

Photo Courtesy of Jodi Bosak

Photo Courtesy of Jodi Bosak

We were up next. The drink that we were going to make was a custom concoction conceived by bartenders of the Disney Dream that ultimately won a contest to be temporarily included in the bar menus on the ship.  This was a play on the traditional martini; it is called the Coco Cadillac, with rum being the base.  I can’t remember the exact pour sizes, but it had dark rum, Midori, pineapple juice, and cream, chilled and strained into a martini glass.

Photo Courtesy of Jodi Bosak

Photo Courtesy of Jodi Bosak

I had a little too much ice in my shaker, which led to a minor mess as I started to shake it out (either 30 seconds or frostbite, whichever came last).  Ray helped get a little ice out, and the shaking commenced.  This one became an instant hit with everyone, and, since we were fortunate enough to make WAY too much, nearly everyone gladly enjoyed a second pour of this.  Though it’s not on the menu anymore, some of the bartenders know how to make it; it can’t hurt to ask…you won’t be disappointed!

Our final product

The last one was a fun one, and Don gave a great story about it: the Caipirinha.  It’s definitely a labor-intensive drink to make with the muddling of the lime.  Don introduced to us the LeBlon Cachaca and described the fermenting and aging process.  The aroma itself was hypnotizing; it had an oaky molasses smell.  This drink was GOOD!!!!!!!! (foreshadowing: it wasn’t the last one we had LOL).

Photo Courtesy of Jodi Bosak
Some of the participants checking out the LeBlon.

Photo Courtesy of Jodi Bosak

I'd like to thank fellow cruiser, Facebook group member, and Mixology student Jodi Bosak for letting me include some pictures that she took into this blog post.  It's definitely appreciated!!!

We're still coherent after 5 drinks

We all paid and thanked the bartenders for their awesome job!  For $20, this is an awesome value, in case you might be interested in trying something like this.  Oh, and, if you’re a bathroom aficionado, be sure to check out the restroom area in the District…they were like ones I had never seen before!

Just before we left, the Captain got on the P.A. system and told us that a traffic jam had essentially formed with several ships leaving Nassau at the same time and that we would be tied up for a little bit.  Some of the ships that had arrived earlier didn’t back in; their bow was facing Nassau, so they were going to have to turn around in the bay.  No worries at all, here, as our only real plans were to head down to the first presentation of Villains Tonight, (Deck 3 forward).

We freshened up in our stateroom and said “HI!” to Reuben, who was all smiles as always.  Not knowing how fast the theater fills up, we decided to arrive early to guarantee that we could find seats.  It was a good thing that we did, because, despite the “no seat-saving” policy, entire rows were blocked off by one or two family members so that later arrivals could sit with them.  I’ll stop there.

Villains Tonight…definitely not my favorite show, but it’s worth a watch.  The premise behind the show mirrors Aladdin in Disney’s California Adventure, where Genie is given freedom to improvise quite a bit to keep things “current”.  They also had Pain and Panic, also from the movie Hercules, and they did a preshow that, to me, harkened back to Cirque du Soleil’s O, with the clowns interacting a bit with the audience prior to the show’s start. Again, the show itself is not bad…it just wasn’t my cup of tea. 

After the show finished, we had a little time before our 8:15 dining time, so, as the ship was in open waters, we decided to head into the nearby shops (along with 800-1,000 of our closest friends who also just got done watching the show).  We bought a couple of things, mostly as restitution for the boys for not taking them on the cruise.  In retrospect, had we known that classes would have been cancelled on one of the days of the trip, we likely would have brought them with us. 

As a side note…if anyone needs Christmas ideas for me, I’d like to start a collection of ship replicas for all the ships that I sail on.  I dropped hints to wifey when we passed by them.

After 4-5 attempts, we FINALLY got this pic in front of another amazing mosaic on Deck 3, by Guest Services.

After we finished shopping, we mulled around the atrium area to pass the time before the “Pirates IN the Caribbean” show on the Pool Deck (Deck 11).  While there, I stopped by Guest Services to use my Disney Rewards card funds to pay on our current on-board charges.  When I finished with that, we decided to head up to Deck 11; before we got to the elevators, though, we nearly ran into Captain Guus, who was dressed in his formal whites to meet people…

…and there was nobody there talking to him!

We took the opportunity to talk to him for a couple of minutes (no, I didn’t ask if I could drive the ship) and then headed up to Deck 11 for the party.  We stayed in the back to watch, despite our mad dancing skills on the dance floor.

We noticed that Christian Abbott, the Cruise Director, was on the deck and watching the show, too.  This guy definitely has energy.  He was also in his dress whites (jacket and all), but he was still dancing a bit, doing the same moves that the crew was doing.  He even faked pulling a hamstring after one of the more daring dance moves.  I contemplated walking up to talk to him for a second, but it looked like that he was juggling a discussion with other crew members in their whites, watching/evaluating the show, and talking to other guests who wanted to spend a minute with him.  I decided to hold off and try meeting him at a different time (which never happened…oh well).  He’s definitely what you would expect from a Cruise Director, and he does a great job at what he does!

Dinner time was approaching, so we made our way back down to the Atrium for the Royal Palace.  We were behind the learning curve here as most people dining already had experience the night before when we dined in Remy.  One of our servers took us to table 110, where fellow table-mates Jamie and Melissa were already seated.  As we introduced ourselves to each other, our other tablemates Ernest and Tina, arrived.  They all immediately wondered why we ditched them (as they humorously said) the previous night, and were very interested to hear about our Remy experience.  It turned out that Disney had seated together three married couples of a similar age with children but taking a kid-less cruise.  We enjoyed getting to know both couples as we started dining on the bread service.  When our servers came to take our drink orders, Sheri and I (recall that we had just done the mixology class a few hours before) decided on glasses of wine rather than bottles of wine for this meal.  Ernest expressed that he always wanted to try wine but that it was intimidating with all the rules and varieties.  The rest of the table came to the rescue and helped him pick out a mid-range glass of pinot noir to complement the chateaubriand that he was ordering.  We didn’t want to scare him with a cabernet sauvignon right off the bat.  We think we did an okay job as he enjoyed the entire glass throughout the meal and was even commenting on how it changed as it sat/warmed/aerated. 

For our appetizer course, I had to take the plunge and try escargot for the very first time.  Sheri ordered the iced lobster and jumbo shrimp.  We had a great time getting to know the other two couples as the appetizers were served.  Besides me, several others also ordered the escargot, and we were all commenting on that famous line from the movie Pretty Woman.  #slipperylittlesuckers

After the salad course, the main entrée came.  Both Sheri and I ordered the chateaubriand.  I ordered it medium, while she ordered it “shoe leather” (that’s what I call “well done”).  The entrées came out, and both of our steaks were prepared exactly as we had hoped.  Another win for food!  We made sure to recommend to Ernest to try the wine with the beef (his reaction: “Oh, That’s GOOD!”).

The dessert menus came out, and I immediately saw crème brulee.  Now, I tend to follow an unwritten rule where, if crème brulee is on the dessert menu, I’m ordering it!  I jumped the gun, though, because Sheri quietly ordered the orange soufflé that was highlighted on the Food Network’s special on the Disney Dream.  Wifey won this one.  The creme brulee was very good, but the soufflé was excellent!

After dinner was finished, we said our “until next time’s” to our new friends and made our way up to Deck 12 port side to watch the rest of the Pirate festivities.  At 10:30, the Buccaneer Blast was scheduled.  Deck 11 was getting a bit crowded, but I read from multiple sources that the best viewing spots for the fireworks was Deck 12 (hint: they shoot the fireworks off on the starboard side).  Those who were on Deck 11 underneath the overhang wouldn’t have had the best view, nor would anyone who couldn’t see above Deck 12.  We were able to find a good viewing spot right by the handrail about 15 minutes before the start of the show.  We noticed that there were a couple of other ships hanging around us.  I wonder if they actually announce the fireworks from our ship on other ships.

Before they fed the fish with Fireworks food (yeah, the shells are biodegradable), the stage show had to take place.  The girls definitely liked seeing Captain Jack Sparrow make an appearance.  The guys were waiting for stuff to blow up.  Captain Jack fired off the first one as the stage show ended, and I expected a short barrage of a few fireworks.

Boy, was I wrong!

Fired to the classic Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack music, they put on a really good show!  The finale, while it wasn’t exactly Illuminations with the Christmas tag, had a lot going on.  I’d definitely recommend trying to watch this if you have the chance.

After the fireworks ended, the dance party started on the pool deck.  We watched for a couple of songs before deciding to retire for the evening.

Yeah, right.

We headed down to Skyline for a nightcap!

We walked in and again had the place pretty much to ourselves.  We both ordered one of the drinks that we made earlier – the Caipirinha.  We fully expected him to start cursing us out in Hindi, since these drinks take a while to make.  He laughed it off and asked us how the Mixology class went off while he made the cocktails.  We enjoyed conversing with all the crew members working there...we talked about how long they’ve been on the Dream, how long they’ve been in Skyline (they actually rotate to a different bar/location every 2 weeks to keep things fresh and learn the other menus).

Eventually, we paid and headed out to call it a night.   Reuben had tidied up and gave us turndown service, with gold coin chocolates and a towel monkey!

We had a lot of relaxing to do the next day…Castaway Cay!!!

No comments: